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UW finds new path to anti-cancer agents

Madison, Wis. - Probing a class of enzymes routinely used to synthesizing some of nature's most potent drugs, a team of Wisconsin scientists has found a new way to expand on nature's chemical creativity to make critical anticancer agents and antibiotics.

Writing this week (Sept. 1) in the journal Science, a team led by Jon S. Thorson, a p......

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Prior to the new Wisconsin work, there were hints that a key class of enzymes known as glycosyltransferases - the biological catalysts responsible for decorating many natural compounds with unique sugar molecules - could be more expansive in their capacity to deploy molecules from a large library of potential sugar donors.

Early limitations

In earlier studies, Thorso......

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What's more, according to Thorson, the technology required to create the new compounds is simple and scalable, which may make it more attractive to the pharmaceutical industry.

"The process is very efficient," Thorson explains. In one vessel, the enzyme can be used to do all of the chemical heavy lifting, synthesizing the new compounds according to how the enzy......

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'"/> By Terry Devitt 09/01/06

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