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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 184959, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/184959
Review Article

Corals and Their Potential Applications to Integrative Medicine

1Laboratory of Comparative Neuroimmunology, Department of Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1763, USA
2Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Muskegon, MI 49441-1678, USA
3Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), 8124 Highway 56, Chauvin, LA 70344-2110, USA

Received 5 November 2013; Accepted 23 December 2013; Published 13 March 2014

Academic Editor: Tung-Sheng Chen

Copyright © 2014 Edwin L. Cooper et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Over the last few years, we have pursued the use and exploitation of invertebrate immune systems, most notably their humoral products, to determine what effects their complex molecules might exert on humans, specifically their potential for therapeutic applications. This endeavor, called “bioprospecting,” is an emerging necessity for biomedical research. In order to treat the currently “untreatable,” or to discover more efficient treatment modalities, all options and potential sources must be exhausted so that we can provide the best care to patients, that is, proceed from forest and ocean ecosystems through the laboratory to the bedside. Here, we review current research findings that have yielded therapeutic benefits, particularly as derived from soft and hard corals. Several applications have already been demonstrated, including anti-inflammatory properties, anticancer properties, bone repair, and neurological benefits.