Florida’s Coral Reef plays a key role in significant medical research that improves and saves lives. The medicinal properties of coral organisms have been recognized since as early as the 14th century. Since then, scientists have developed treatments for cardiovascular diseases, ulcers, leukemia, lymphoma and skin cancer — all from chemicals found in reef plants and animals. In fact, more than half of all new cancer drug research focuses on marine organisms. Additionally, coral’s unique skeletal structure has been used to make advanced bone-grafting materials.
Even with the multitude of medical benefits that have already been discovered, much is still left to learn about coral reefs and their potential to benefit human health. The conservation and protection of Florida’s Coral Reef enables continued research into a relatively untapped world that shows continued promise as a source for lifesaving pharmaceuticals.