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California firm farms limpets for medicine

The giant keyhole limpet suctioned onto Matt Strang’s palm avoids sunlight and feeds on marine organisms, and one day its blue blood may be part of medicine used for lupus, cancer, even Alzheimer’s.

For now, the snail-like mollusk lives in one of the 20 large tanks in an expanding Stellar Biotechnologies complex at the Port of Hueneme. The 18-year-old publicly traded company raises the limpets and extracts a protein in its blood, keyhole limpet hemocyanin, in a process designed not to harm the animal.

The KLH protein is sold to companies researching and developing vaccines and other drugs.

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SOURCE: Ventura County Star - Part of the USA Today Network

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