Biotech Updates

Rice University Researchers Synthesizes New Cancer Fighter

June 22, 2016

Rice University scientists have synthesized a novel anti-cancer agent, Thailanstatin A, which was isolated from a bacteria collected in Thailand.

Thailanstatin A fights cancer by inhibiting the spliceosome, the machinery in the cell that edits messenger RNA after transcription but before translation. Researchers explained that the spliceosome, a composite of proteins and ribonucleoproteins that regulate DNA splicing, is more active and displays higher mutation rates in cancer cells than in healthy cells, making it a suitable target for the study.

Rice synthetic chemist K.C. Nicolaou said the synthesis of Thailanstatin A, first isolated from bacterium Burkholderia thailandensisa, opens the way to construct and test variations of the molecule. The program can take two directions, one directed toward high-potency compounds that could be used for antibody drug conjugates and the other toward selective agents that can kill cancer cells with minimal damage to healthy cells.

For more on this study, read the article on the Rice University Website.