Biocare marine is a cross-border research and development consortium from the EU Interreg 2 Seas area. Our consortium consists of the University of Brighton (UK), University of Gent (Belgium), Ifremer (a French governmental laboratory, France) and Polymaris (a marine biotech company, France). Our objectives are to isolate, characterise and sustainably utilise marine biomolecules applicable to human healthcarefor the social and economic benefit of the region.
The ocean is a vast and relatively untapped resource where the organisms therein have evolved a myriad of mechanisms to survive in this changing and demanding environment. These include: antimicrobial substances to help out-compete neighbouring organisms for space on rocks, gelatinous polysaccharides to prevent dehydration, provide structure, and to protect against external threats e.g. shielding against toxic metal poisoning:
- By identifying, isolating and harvesting these marine biomolecules in the laboratory, we can apply them in the fight against disease.
- Our consortium instigates a programme of screening of marine isolates for these beneficial features, as well as utilising its existing stocks of putative marine pharmaceuticals.
- The selected biomolecules will be integrated into functional products for healthcare, e.g. wound dressings and tissue regeneration scaffolds using our shared knowledge of material science.
The scientific objectives of Biocare marine are to:
- Discover and functionalise new antimicrobial agents isolated from the marine environment to help combat the growing threat of broad spectrum antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.
- Construct novel wound dressings and tissue regeneration scaffolds using marine biomolecules that hold great promise for the treatment of chronic wounds, and for the remodeling and reconstruction of skin in burns victims.
- Utilise the specialised polysaccharides produced by marine bacteria to construct heavy metal capture-systems. Toxic heavy metals cause environmental and health damage and present a significant threat to human wellbeing. By developing ways to capture and remove these metals (as marine creatures do) we can help address these threats.