Las esponjas marinas como fuente de nuevas sustancias bioactivas.
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Marine sponges (Porifera) have drawn the attention from a broad number of researchers all over the world. These animals and their simbionts are specialized in chemical warfare, producing biologically active chemical substances as an effective defense against predators. They have been considered a goldmine to chemists, from which have been discovered more than 6000 novel structures; many of them, with enormous biomedical applications, mainly against cancer, but also against bacteria, viruses and other diseases. Some of the sponge-derived drugs are available in the market, such as: Ara-A (antiviral) and Ara-C (anticancer), but there are diverse bioactive compounds under clinical trials. In Cuba, the researches related to the isolation of compounds from marine sponges are scarce and the initial studies were about pharmacological evaluations of extracts and fractions. In recent studies, three sponges were investigated (Agelas cerebrum, Niphates digitalis and Pandaros acanthifolium), from which were isolated and identified 45 metabolites, two of them were isolated for the first time as natural products, including the discovery of 30 novel metabolites, dividing in two new families of steroidal saponins with uncommon chemical characteristics and potential against several parasitic protozoa and tumor human cell lines.