In this medical video learn how treatments for cancer could come from the sea in future.
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Jennifer Matthews: This is a sea squirt. It's a marine animal found in the Caribbean. Dr. Bruce Chabner: They're one of many types of marine species that elaborate toxins. Jennifer Matthews: Dr. Bruce Chabner says it's the toxins that kill cancer cells. A new drug, ET-743, is made from the tissue in sea squirts. Dr. Bruce Chabner: The major indication for it is for patients with what is called soft tissue sarcoma. Jennifer Matthews: It's a cancer Renee Relin was diagnosed with six years ago. Renee Relin: My first reaction when I was first diagnosed and I thought, this could go anytime, is that I wanted to build memories. Jennifer Matthews: Renee started taking regular vacations with her two teenage sons. But the tumors kept returning -- first in her liver, which was surgically removed. Then a new tumor in her pelvis where surgery was not an option. Renee Relin: It was close enough to some critical vessels that it was sort of, it could be a little messy. Jennifer Matthews: Studies show ET-743 shrinks tumors in 10 percent of patients and stabilizes them in 30 percent of patients. Renee Relin: My thought was sure, why not? Jennifer Matthews: It shrank the tumor enough so doctors could remove it. Two years later, she noticed another benefit. Renee Relin: I hadn't gone that long without coming up with new tumors, and I really think that the ET-743 was the reason. Jennifer Matthews: For Relin, the drug has given her more time for trips with her sons. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.