Cancer Cures Hiding in Poisonous Lake

Scientists fish new microbes out of a toxic soup that kills
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2007 6:47 PM CDT
berkeley pit   ((c) grabadonut)
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(Newser) – Two scientists may be fishing cancer cures out of an abandoned, poisonous lake, Wired reports. Don and Andrea Stierle are finding microbes in the green goup of an old Montana pit lake that don’t exist anywhere else – and happen to make compounds that inhibit a lung cancer and an ovarian cancer. So far Big Pharma hasn’t taken enough notice to fund a full investigation of the underwater slime. 

The pit’s copper mine shut down 25 years ago, flooding the site and creating a soup so toxic that 342 snow geese once died there on a single night. The nearby town of Butte also wasted away as miners lost their jobs. But the Stierles have stuck it out, enduring erratic funding as they isolated 100 potentially life-saving microbes—many never seen on Earth before.

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