Sunday, December 3, 2023

Synthesized shrub compound combats ‘undruggable’ cancer protein

A chemist from Purdue University has found a way to synthesize a compound to fight a previously “undruggable” cancer protein, reports Inspired by a rare compound found in a shrub native to North America, professor of chemistry Mingji Dai discovered a cost-effective and efficient way to synthesize it in the lab. Compound curcusone D has the potential to help combat a protein found in many cancers, including some forms of breast, brain, colorectal, prostate, lung, and liver cancers. Protein BRAT1 had been deemed “undruggable” for its resilient chemical properties. Curcusones are compounds that come from shrub Jatropha curcas, also called the purging nut. “Our compound can not only kill these cancer cells, it can stop their migration,” Dai said. “If we can keep the cancer from metastasizing, the patient can live longer.” The next step will be to test the compound to ensure that it is not toxic to humans.

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