Researchers hope mines will help develop new drugs

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - University of Kentucky researchers are working to find out whether microbes from coal mines could help fight disease.

Soil from coal mines is analyzed at UK's Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation lab, run by Jon Thorson. Thorson said because the microbes have to work harder to survive underground, they are more competitive, meaning they may be useful in fighting illness.

The Lexington Herald-Leader says Thorson has also contacted geologist Jim Hower, who has been studying gas emissions from a fire in an abandoned underground mine near Lott's Creek in Perry County. When Thorson found out, he asked Hower about getting soil samples for the research.

Thorson's team is working with colleagues from UK's Center for Applied Energy Research and the Kentucky Geological Survey to retrieve necessary soil samples.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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