A team of Russian scientists have synthesized a new anti-cancer compound in only 6 step. It is able to combat cancer cells even if they are resistant to chemotherapy.
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) Professor Alexander Kiselyov who leads the research said: “The chemical compound was synthesized from an early product found in nature — parsley and dill seeds. Liquid carbon dioxide was used for extracting the needed natural components, which were then purified in the N.D. Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences," explained Prof. Kiselyov.
The targeted compounds were evaluated for their antimitotic microtubule estabilizing activity using in vivo phenotypic sea urchin embryo model and in vitro human cancer cell-based assays. "It was those structures which caught our attention due to their biologically activity and unique mechanism of influence on cell division and tubulin megastructures," the professor said.
Prof. Kiselyov and his team have been working on such drugs for more than a decade. They have also developed a highly sensitive test using sea urchin embryos. Thus, an effective synthesis of substances from easily available natural sources combined with tests on urchin embryos and panels of human cancer cells, including resistant ones, led to the identification of key material, Alexander Kiselyov concluded. "Interestingly, the substance acted most effectively against ovarian cancer cells. Our team is currently trying to discover the molecular ‘reason' for such specificity in order to further optimize this substance, to improve its effectiveness and its ‘safety' towards healthy cells," he added.
It is too early to call it a breakthrough, the professor considers. "Our preliminary tests show that our substance is able to kill even chemotherapy resistant cells of ovarian cancer. However, despite the promising results, we have a lot of hard work in front of us," Prof. Kiselyov said. "Elaboration of the effective and specific treatment for clinical testing takes at least few years of research in vivo."
The team still needs to overcome a few obstacles before clinical testing. Including proving the specific mechanism of the substance towards ovarian cancer and improving its qualities, the researchers have to conduct in vivo assays using human cancer cells transplanted into laboratory animals, as well as understanding its behavior in living systems and its toxicity.