Hawaiian chemist honored for ocean research at Pacifichem 2000

"My father can look at a spot in the ocean and see so much more than others see." So says Jonathan Scheuer of his father, University of Hawaii professor Paul Josef Scheuer, Ph.D., the pioneer chemist credited with helping develop and bring to the forefront the science of marine natural products. Today, thanks largely to Scheuer's research during the past 50 years, many leading scientists believe the oceans may produce the next wave of treatments for a variety of incurable diseases.

Scheuer will be honored during the International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies (Pacifichem 2000) meeting in Honolulu, December 14-19. A special recognition program will be held at 5:30 p.m., Sunday, December 17 at the Sheraton Waikiki. It will be followed by the two-day Scheuer symposium December 18-19 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Tapa Conference Center, Honolulu. The symposium will feature the latest research on marine natural products.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Scheuer's academic career at the University of Hawaii as well as the start of human clinical trials in Europe of Kahalalide F (KF), a potential cancer treatment Scheuer discovered in a Hawaiian marine mollusk. The compound, now produced by the Spanish biotechnology company PharmaMar, enters clinical trials for prostate cancer at the end of the year. KF may also be beneficial in treating lung and colon cancers.

Scheuer coined the term "marine natural products" to describe the study of chemical compounds produced by marine organisms. Seventy percent of the earth's surface is water, and the oceans contain millions of organisms with natural chemicals that may prove beneficial in treating human diseases. Much of Scheuer's work relates to drug discovery and finding novel chemicals in marine organisms that can help people in some way.

Scheuer is the author of 13 books on the subject and has received National Science Foundation grants annually for the last 49 years. The scientific comm

Contact: Luana Bossolo
American Chemical Society

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