New Discovery, New Publication
A new approach in making chemotherapeutic molecules
In their continuous efforts to deliver NC State’s brand promise to the public, our scientists take innovative approaches to research. A new approach in making chemotherapeutic molecules has been identified by researchers from the Department of Chemistry at NC State University and their international collaborators.
Etoposide is a chemotherapeutic agent and is one of the World Health Organization (WHO) essential medicines used for the treatments of a number of types of cancer.
This research, for the first time, shows how an enzyme, also known as biocatalyst, enables C-C bond formation in making the core structure of etoposide. “Etoposide is a chemotherapeutic agent and is one of the World Health Organization (WHO) essential medicines used for the treatments of a number of types of cancer including testicular cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, neuroblastoma, and ovarian cancer.” Through understanding how the biocatalyst catalyzes the reaction, researchers hope to use this knowledge to facilitate the process of making these important molecules.
Why is it so important to the public? Well, simply because, currently, the synthesis of these molecules involves the isolation of intermediates from the producing plants. This recent discovery opens a new direction to use a chemo-enzymatic approach in the preparation of etoposide and its analogs. Additionally, the protein structure will help design new biocatalysts for possible new reactions.
The study entitled “Mechanistic analysis of carbon–carbon bond formation by deoxypodophyllotoxin synthase” was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) journal.