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 How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>