Vertebrate, insect, and plant cell lines are important tools for research in many disciplines, also for human health, evolutionary and developmental biology, agriculture and toxicology. Now Using marine sponges to develop rapid cell division

Despite many efforts over multiple decades, there are still no cell lines for marine invertebrates including marine sponges, which are the source of thousands of novel chemicals with pharmaceutically relevant properties.

Researchers have developed a breakthrough in marine invertebrate (sponge) cell culture. For the first time, they have accomplished a substantial increase in both the rate and number of cell divisions.

They have demonstrated that an amino acid-optimized nutrient medium stimulates rapid cell division in nine marine sponge species.

The demonstration of exceptionally fast cell division for marine invertebrates (sponges), as well as the researchers’ ability to subculture the cells, is a groundbreaking discovery for marine biotechnology.

Reports, showed that the fastest dividing cells doubled in less than one hour. Cultures of three species were subcultured from three to five times, with an average of 5.99 population doublings after subculturing, and a lifespan from 21 to 35 days.

Sponges (Phylum Porifera) are among the oldest Metazoa and considered critical to understanding animal evolution and development.

They are key components of many benthic marine ecosystems. There are more than 9,000 described species that occur worldwide, from the intertidal to the deep sea. Among the oldest metazoans, sponges have evolved a variety of strategies to adapt to different environments.

FAU Harbor Branch’s drug discovery program looks for treatments for pancreatic cancer and infectious diseases, and their scientists also have collaborations with other scientists working on other forms of cancer, malaria, tuberculosis, neurodegenerative disease and inflammation.