NEW HAVEN, Conn., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Yale University scientists say they've updated the process for synthesizing a family of compounds with the potential to kill cancer and other diseased cells.
The researchers said the compounds, known as the kinamycins, are naturally produced by bacteria during metabolism and are known for their potent toxicity. For years scientists have guessed a core structure common to the different compounds was responsible for the toxicity, but the core could not be studied because there was no simple way to create it in the laboratory.
Now the Yale scientists say they've developed a method to recreate the structure that allows them to synthesize the kinamycins with much greater efficiency than previously possible.
"By shortening the synthesis we can now prepare these molecules in the quantities required for further studies, including animal studies and even clinical trials," said Assistant Professor Seth Herzon, the study's lead author. "The key to success will be whether … we can kill cancer cells in the presence of non-cancerous tissue. Based on what we already know about the chemical reactivity of these molecules, I'm optimistic we can do this."
The study that also included Christina Woo, Liang Lu, Shivajirao Gholap and Devin Smith appears in the early online edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.