Glazer receives grant to study light-activated cancer drugs

January 31, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 31, 2013) -- University of Kentucky assistant professor of chemistry Edith "Phoebe" Glazer has received an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant for $715,000 over four years to continue her research into ruthenium-based cancer drugs. These compounds are less toxic to healthy cells than a similar and widely used inorganic drug.

Cisplatin is a common platinum-based cancer drug used in a variety of cancer treatments. But while cisplatin kills cancer cells, it also attacks healthy cells, causing debilitating side effects. Ruthenium is another transition metal and belongs to the same group of the periodic table as iron.

Previously, the Glazer group developed two new ruthenium complexes designed to kill cancer cells while preserving healthy cells. These complexes are inert in the dark, but when activated with light, they become up to 200 times as toxic, and up to three times as potent as cisplatin against tumor cells.

Funded by the American Cancer Society, the new grant will allow Glazer's team to develop improved ruthenium-based compounds and to study their effectiveness. Using the strategy of combining organic ligands as building blocks that assemble around the ruthenium center "core," a large family of compounds with different structures and properties can be rapidly synthesized. This is in marked contrast to approaches using compounds discovered in nature, called natural products, as chemotherapeutics.

Many chemotherapeutics are natural products, but their synthesis is challenging and there are limited chemical modifications that can be made into the molecules. In the ruthenium compounds, the organic components can be easily changed to alter chemical properties and possibly even what types of cells the compounds will enter in the body. The different structures can also potentially prevent the development of drug resistance, as tumors that become resistant to one particular ruthenium drug structure could be vulnerable to another ruthenium compound with a different structure.

The efficacy of the compounds will be tested in different human cancer cell lines and in animal models to determine what cancer types can be treated. The group will also determine the biochemical process by which the compounds kill cells in order to optimize the drugs. The long-term goal of the research is to develop a targeted chemotherapeutic approach with reduced side effects that can be applied to a variety of cancer types.
-end-


University of Kentucky

Related Drug Resistance Articles from Brightsurf:

New drug that can prevent the drug resistance and adverse effects
A research team in Korea is garnering attention for having developed an anticancer drug that could potentially prevent drug resistance.

New drug combinations help overcome resistance to immunotherapy
A new study from researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center helps explain how disruptions in genes can lead to the resistance to one of the leading immunotherapies, PD-1 blockade, and how new drug combinations could help overcome resistance to the anti-PD-1 therapy in a mechanistically-based way.

Drug overcomes chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer
In an international preclinical study, researchers found they could overcome chemotherapy resistance in clear cell ovarian cancer cell models using low doses of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose.

Engineers model mutations causing drug resistance
Whether it is a drug-resistant strain of bacteria, or cancer cells that no longer react to the drugs intended to kill them, diverse mutations make cells resistant to chemicals, and 'second generation' approaches are needed.

Double success for University drug resistance research
Swansea University research into the threat posed by antifungal drug resistance has been highlighted in two prestigious international journals.

What fuels a 'domino effect' in cancer drug resistance?
KAIST researchers have identified mechanisms that relay prior acquired resistance to the first-line chemotherapy to the second-line targeted therapy, fueling a 'domino effect' in cancer drug resistance.

New flu drug drives drug resistance in influenza viruses
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers examined the effects of baloxavir treatment on influenza virus samples collected from patients before and after treatment.

Resistance to last resort drug arose in patient over 3 weeks
French investigators have described development of resistance to one of the last resort therapies used to treat extremely drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Cause of drug resistance in a drug resistance in intestinal tumors identified
Researchers clarify mechanisms that allow hard-to-treat cancers to develop, and have identified strategies that could lead to new therapies.

Engineered viruses could fight drug resistance
MIT biological engineers can program bacteriophages to kill different strains of E. coli by making mutations in the protein that the viruses use to bind to host cells.

Read More: Drug Resistance News and Drug Resistance Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.