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Novel light-sensitive compounds show promise for cancer therapy
Date:6/16/2009

cells. The release of nitric oxide after exposure to light quenched the fluorescence, and the cells showed signs of apoptosis within four to eight hours.

"That was probably the most exciting day of my grad school career, when I looked through the microscope and saw the fluorescent compounds in the cells," Rose said.

Rose used a commercially available dye initially, then synthesized new dyes so that he could customize their properties. "In the end, the whole molecule was built from scratch in our lab," he said. "That's the fun of synthetic chemistry: It's like building with Legos, but you get to make your own Legos, so it's even better."

Mascharak said he now plans to collaborate with medical researchers at UCLA to conduct additional tests of the compounds in a tumor model. Meanwhile, he and Rose have continued to investigate the unusual chemistry of nitrile hydratases. They have just published their findings in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (published online May 27, 2009).

"We have now clearly shown the mechanism for how the enzyme nitrile hydratase is photoregulated by nitric oxide. This process gave us the idea of making light-sensitive metal nitrosyls as antitumor drugs," Mascharak said.


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Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
Source:Eurekalert

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