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Research Study: There May Be New Warhead Against Cancer


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http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ ... /-1/A_LIFE

ARTICLE:

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By The Record

April 05, 2008

The battle against cancer might have developed a new "warhead."

That's what two University of the Pacific chemistry professors are calling the model for a potential anti-cancer drug they have discovered.

"Often, cancer patients suffer severely from cancer treatments based on chemotherapy," said Elfi Kraka, who teamed with Dieter Cremer on the research project. "This new drug model has a lot of potential and could lead to a new, efficient anti-cancer drug with highly reduced side effects."

Kraka, the former chairman of Pacific's Chemistry Department, and Cremer published the results of their research in the March 6 edition of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Physical Chemistry B.

Their potential drug derives from enediynes, natural substances capable of cutting "like scissors" through a cell's DNA, said Kraka.

They used these enediynes - the "warheads" produced by microorganisms found in soil in Texas and Argentina in the 1980s - to attack the acidic nature of tumor cells.

Similar enediynes now used in some cancer treatments destroy healthy tissue as well as tumor cells, leading to unpleasant side effects.

Kraka and Cremer used a computer-assisted drug design to learn that - by combining enediynes with aminides, which occur naturally - a "warhead" can be created that only becomes active in acidic environments.

Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells generate such an acidic environment.

So, the enediyne can be "trained" as "warheads" that only would attack cancerous tumors, leaving healthy tissue alone and increasing the potential survival rate.

"Microorganisms have had 2 billion years more experience than humans have in figuring out how to fight toxic bacteria and viruses," Kraka said. "In this time, they have developed compounds such as enediynes. Now we have to learn how to adjus

nature's design to our needs."

"The breakthrough ... could have a tremendous impact on the treatment of one of the most significant diseases of our times," Pacific Provost Phil Gilbertson said.

Kraka and Cremer, who undertook key aspects of their research at Pacific, specialize in theoretical and computational chemistry, nanotechnology and computer-assisted drug design.

They said they are actively seeking a pharmaceutical company whose researchers would help further develop and test their drug model.

VIEW THE REPORTS

The cancer research report by University of the Pacific professors Kraka and Cremer, and Tell Tuttle, "Design of a New Warhead for the Natural Enediyne Dynemicin A.: An Increase of Biological Activity," is available at

http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp0773536.

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Disclaimer:

The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not posted as medical advice of any kind.

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