Life Saving Sea Sponge

There are so many medications around the world, most common illnesses or diseases have a medication to help people overcome them. On the other hand, there are diseases that are harder to cure, such as cancer, HIV, and AIDS. These diseases do have cures and treatments, but they are not quick or simple. For some forms of cancer, they can be treated by radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. There is no cure for HIV, but it is treated with antiviral medications or aniteretorial therapy. There is no cure for aids, but like HIV, this disease can be controlled with antiviral and aniteretorial therapy. However, a new cure may have been found for HIV, aids, and cancer. The cure? Sea sponges.

Tectitethya crypta sponge in its natural habitat

Sea sponges were first used in 1950 because scientists were looking for medicines that could be produced from the ocean.   

The sea sponge Tectitethya crypta, is being used as a cancer, aids, and HIV cure. These sponges are found in the Caribbean’s shallow waters. T. crypta contains spongothymidine and spogourdine, which are chemicals. These chemicals have properties proven to kill HIV, break down aids, help cure cancer, and also treat herpes. For the sea sponge, the chemicals serve as a defender against predators and bacteria. For humans, these chemicals can cure disease and fight bacteria for us.  This sea sponge was the first marine organism approved for cancer treatment in 1969. Sea sponges provide humans with antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, immunosuppressive, muscle relaxants, anthelmintic, and anti-inflammatory properties. 30% of all marine-related compounds have come from T. crypta
But are sea sponges the best option?The marine life benefit from sea sponges, which make them important for the environment. . They pump oxygen through the ocean and provide shelter for marine life. Due to warming ocean temperatures and overfishing, sponges are threatened already. Overfishing causes hundreds of sea sponges to die since fishers will catch them in their nets and dump them back into the water dying or dead. If sea sponges are going to continue to be used, something has to change. Sea sponges do not grow very much in a short period of time, so some are not big enough to give the quantities needed to be effective for medicinal use. T. crypta grows super slowly, at a rate of about 0.2mm of tissue in a year. If you do the math, when a sponge is 5,000 years old it will only be 3.3 feet long. Is it worth limiting the amount of sea sponges in the ocean though for a life saving cure?

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