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Light-activated therapy targets DNA components

Chemists and biologists at Virginia Tech continuing to design light-activated molecular systems to attack cancer cells have introduced a DNA targeting component.

They will present the research at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago March 25-29.

“We use visible light to signal the synthesized bioactive molecules to cleave DNA,” said Karen Brewer, professor of chemistry at Virginia Tech. “Incorporating a DNA target allows more selectivity. Coupling of the DNA targeting unit allows us to produce colored DNA-Complex assemblies that are easily photoactivated with visible light."

Avijita Jain of Bhopal, India, a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at Virginia Tech, has designed a selective complex shown to inhibit growth in E. coli bacteria.

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The group’s previous work included delivering the anticancer drug cisplatin and improved compounds to a disease site. In the process, the coupling of the drugs to the designed molecule increased water solubility. The improved selectivity along with photoinitiation reduce damage to healthy tissue.

The paper, “Synthesis, characterization, DNA binding and in vivo activity of Ru(II)/Pt(II) complexes” (INOR 690), will be presented at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, at McCormick Place Lakeside room E253D by Jain. Co-authors are Brenda S. J. Winkel, professor of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, and Brewer.

Jain received her undergraduate degree from Barkatullah University Bhopal, M.P., India, and her master’s degree from Tennessee Technological University.

Aspects of DNA photocleavage ability of the new molecules will also be presented in the paper, “Coupling Ru or Os light absorbers to reactive Pt complexes: Excited state reactivity and DNA photocleavage” (INOR 1200), at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 28, at McCormick Place Lakeside room E253D by Virginia Tech Ph.D. chemistry student Ran Miao of Zhangzhou City, China. Co-authors are chemistry graduate students David F. Zigler of Sterling, Illinois, and Jared Brown of Salem, Va., and Brewer.

Susan Trulove | EurekAlert!
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