Scientists in the United States have discovered that a type of sea cucumber found in Palau contains a compound which has anti-cancer properties.
A report in the magazine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says researchers have proved that the sea cucumber produces bacteria which contain chemicals that may be useful in treating some cancers.
Samples of sea cucumber were collected from Palau and scientists used DNA analysis to discover the genetic pathways which make the chemicals.
The scientists say the compound is potent and has great pharmaceutical potential.
They say their study shows genetic manipulation can produce greater quantities of the compound.