Department of Cell Physiology and Metabolism, Translational Research Centre in Oncohaematology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Rue Michel-Servet 1, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland. email@example.com.
Despite huge efforts by academia and pharmaceutical industry, cancer remains the second cause of disease-related death in developed countries. Novel sources and principles of anticancer drug discovery are in urgent demand. Marine-derived natural products represent a largely untapped source of future drug candidates. This review focuses on the anticancer drug discovery potential of marine invertebrates from the North-West Pacific. The issues of biodiversity, chemodiversity, and the anticancer pharmacophore diversity this region hides are consecutively discussed. These three levels of diversity are analyzed from the point of view of the already discovered compounds, as well as from the assessment of the overall, still undiscovered and enormous potential. We further go into the predictions of the economic and societal benefits the full-scale exploration of this potential offers, and suggest strategic measures to be taken on the national level in order to unleash such full-scale exploration. The transversal and multi-discipline approach we attempt to build for the case of marine invertebrate-based anticancer drug discovery from a given region can be applied to other regions and disease conditions, as well as up-scaled to global dimensions.