The first synthesis of QS-21A, a medicinally important molecule that helps the body battle disease, has been achieved by chemists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In clinical trials, QS-21A has been shown to significantly improve the bodys immune response in vaccine therapies against aggressive diseases such as melanoma, breast cancer, small-cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, HIV-1 and malaria. An extract from the bark of the South American tree Quillaja saponaria Molina, QS-21A is available only in small quantities.
"Now that we have synthesized this remarkable molecule and confirmed its structure, we are in a position to examine how it works and investigate ways to improve its performance," said David Y. Gin, a professor of chemistry at Illinois. Gin and his collaborators describe their work in a paper that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and posted on its Web site.
James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
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