Nav: Home

TSRI scientists receive two new grants to explore 'click chemistry' applications

October 04, 2016

LA JOLLA, CA - October 4, 2016 - Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have received a grant of nearly $1.9 million from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and a grant of $640,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for two new projects that take advantage of "click chemistry."

Created in the mid-1990s by TSRI Professor K. Barry Sharpless, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, click chemistry is a method for the rapid discovery of new chemical properties by reliably "clicking" molecules together.

The NIGMS grant will support a new four-year project led by TSRI Associate Professor Peng Wu to study the role of "fucosylated" sugar molecules in cancer.

Fucosylation is adding fucose, a natural sugar, to molecules like glycans, one of the four fundamental building blocks of life. Fucosylation changes how tumors behave. Scientists have found that fucosylated glycans in tumors seem to block the body's ability to destroy cancer cells. However, the underlying mechanism remains a mystery.

"If we can understand how cancer cells use fucosylated glycans to fool the immune system," said Wu, "then we hope we can learn from it, too, and create new immunotherapies--for example, strategies to deliver cytotoxic T cells or antibodies specifically to tumors based on their fucosylation levels."

The new project will include the use of click chemistry-based tools to label cell surface glycans.

"This chemistry developed at Scripps can contribute to understanding biology and also to finding new biological products," said Wu.

The NSF grant will support a four-year project led by Sharpless to create new clicked polymers using SuFEx, a sulfur fluoride exchange reaction discovered by Sharpless and colleagues in 2014.

"SuFEx is revealing unique reactivity," said Sharpless. "It is the second, near-perfect click reaction discovered in our laboratory. CuAAC (rhymes with 'quack') was first. Used in tandem, SuFEx and CuAAC have found new chemical universes that may be as large as nature's chemistry. The potential is staggering."

Sharpless will work with Wu to develop polymers with better properties than today's ubiquitous polycarbonate-based materials. Sharpless said new polymers might include flexible electronics, hybrid nanocomposites, bioplastics and smart coatings. "Imagine," he said, "windows that wash themselves, clothes you can clean with polymer beads instead of soap, or plastic automobile bodies."

The number of the NIGMS grant is R01GM093282. The number of the NSF grant is 1610987.
-end-


Scripps Research Institute

Related Cancer Articles:

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...