Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Turning green gunk to gold, anti-cancer gold

11.01.2007
Combining synthetic chemistry techniques with a knowledge of the properties and actions of enzymes, scientists have been able to produce an exciting class of anti-cancer drugs originally isolated from blue-green algae.

This accomplishment is expected to make it possible to produce enough of the promising drugs for use in clinical trials.

In a study featured on the cover of the January issue of the journal ACS Chemical Biology, a scientific team lead by University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute Research Professor David H. Sherman and researcher Zachary Q. Beck found the trick to turning the green gunk into gold—cancer fighting gold.

"It was simply too difficult to use the native blue-green algae for high-level production using traditional fermentation approaches," said Sherman. But the compound, called cryptophycin 1, held so much promise as an anti-cancer drug that organic chemists got busy trying to find ways to make a synthetic form of the compound in large enough quantities for clinical trials.

Developing an efficient synthetic route to natural product compounds and their analogs is often an essential step in drug development. With drugs such as penicillin and tetracycline, it can easily be done, but cryptophycins present more of a challenge. Sherman's team realized that with all cryptophycins, the most difficult step came very late in the synthesis, at the point at which a key part called an epoxide—a highly strained, three-membered ring oxygen-containing group, crucial for the drug's anti-cancer activity—becomes attached to the molecule.

The epoxide group can be attached in two configurations, designated as alpha and beta. Scientists have known for several years that the beta configuration was absolutely required for the anti-cancer properties of the drug, but were unable to devise efficient synthetic strategies that favored that configuration.

Sherman's team accomplished this by isolating the entire set of biosynthetic genes and key enzymes and developing a new, efficient method to manufacture the broad class of cryptophycin natural products, including important analogs with clinical potential. This included characterization of an enzyme, cytochrome P450, that always introduces the epoxide in the desired beta configuration.

Sherman, who is also the John G. Searle Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, believes that this approach will allow effective new cryptophycin analogs with low levels of side effects to be created for clinical trials.

"This issue represented an exciting target that offered not only an interesting scientific problem, but the potential to do something of practical importance in creating a promising anti-cancer drug," he said.

"Biosynthetic Characterization and Chemoenzymatic Assembly of the Cryptophycins. Potent Anticancer Agents from Nostoc Cyanobionts" by Magarvey N. A.; Beck Z. Q.; Golakoti T. ; Ding Y. ; Huber U. ; Hemscheidt T. K.; Abelson D. ; Moore R. E.; Sherman D. H. appeared online Dec.15 and is the cover story in the print version of ACS Chemical Biology January, 2007.

Robin Stephenson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

Further reports about: Configuration anti-cancer cryptophycin synthetic

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>