Finding cure to cancer is a major goal for the scientific community. Although we’ve seen major advancements, the goal is still yet to be reached. Now scientists from the Victoria University of Wellington might have made a breakthrough in cancer drug development. Their versions of a natural compound could target multiple types of cancer.
The compound in question, called TAN-2483B, is found in multiple species of mushrooms. Previous studies have isolated small quantities of it and used it in mixtures to prove its potential effectiveness against the development of some types of cancer and bone degenerative diseases like osteoporosis. However, up until now scientists have not been able to find or create it in big enough quantities. This seriously hindered the development of TAN-2483B-based drugs. In other words, this highly effective natural medical compound was of no real use for us because we couldn’t get big enough samples. Solution – synthesizing it in the laboratory.
Now scientists in New Zealand managed to create several synthetic alternatives to TAN-2483B. This allows producing as much of the compound as is needed for the research. However, these synthetic alternatives are not actually the ultimate goal of the study. Scientists are going to attempt recreating the natural compound in the laboratory as well. This will allow fully exploring therapeutic properties of the compound.
Dr Joanne Harvey, leader of the research team, said: “Our alternatives and the original compound target different cancer enzymes, so if we can create all of them in good quantities in the lab we will have even more avenues for cancer drug development. If we can cheaply and easily produce large quantities of these compounds, it will enable us to perform the thorough tests needed to take them to the next stages of cancer drug development”.
Making these compounds was just half of the challenge. The second half – making them affordable. Scientists want that these potentially invaluable materials would be available worldwide. This would potentially speed up the research, helping to reach the breakthrough sooner. Researchers are using cheap and readily available sugar as the main building block of the alternatives. This does not influence the quality of the product, but does make it cheaper.
Will this spawn new cancer therapies? We don’t know yet. TAN-2483B is a highly potent compound and its possibilities are intriguing. However, only now scientists are able to get bigger quantities of the alternatives of the compound. This means that they are still in the beginning stages of the research.