Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Green Chemistry' Could Ease Manufacture, Boost Usefulness Of Cancer Drug

Date:
April 4, 2009
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
New research is paving the way for potentially cleaner, more efficient production of cancer-fighting paclitaxel -- better known as the blockbuster drug Taxol.

Shown is the broad specificity of the enzyme from yew plants that make the potent cancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol). Each acyl CoA shown can 'funnel' to the reactive site 'conveyor' of the enzyme and transfer to a prodrug skeleton.
Credit: Graphic conceived by Kevin D. Walker, drafted by Thomas P. Carter

Research by Michigan State University chemist Kevin Walker is paving the way for potentially cleaner, more efficient production of cancer-fighting paclitaxel – better known as the blockbuster drug Taxol.

Related Articles


First isolated from the bark of the Pacific yew in 1967, paclitaxel has since been made by synthetically modifying an intermediate substance isolated from yew needles using toxic solvents or by fermenting cell cultures.

Walker’s method employs natural enzymes instead. "Pharmaceutical companies could reduce the steps involved in making Taxol," he said, "while cutting chemical byproducts."

Walker, an assistant professor of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology, studies enzymes that assemble the Taxol molecule in Taxus plants. "This process is like painting from a palette,” Walker said. “We can add select colors to the palette from which the enzyme chooses, so the molecule can be crafted in a variety of ways. The enzyme does all the work.

“A plant enzyme can do in one step what traditional synthetic construction does in multiples steps,” Walker said. “Under our process, the construction of Taxol uses a biological assembly line where each enzyme does its job to create the final product. Particular enzymes on the assembly line can attach slightly different components on the molecular frame to create new-generation Taxol molecules. This can lead to more effective drug variants and eventually better health care treatment.”

Taxol “is definitely a frontline drug and is used to treat many cancers,” including those of the breast, lung, head and neck, said Barbara Conley, chief of the MSU Department of Medicine’s hematology and oncology division.

With a world bulk paclitaxel market generating revenues of $195 million in 1997, potential new uses for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and tuberculosis are expected to help boost the world market 10 percent by 2012, according to Global Industry Analysts Inc.

Walker’s team’s research was funded by the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station. “The science and technology of plants and natural systems is becoming increasingly relevant in human medicine as scientists look for greater efficiencies and ‘greener’ ways of manufacturing drugs and other health care products,” said MAES director Steve Pueppke. “Engaging in research that leads to improvements in human and animal health is a large and important part of the MAES mission.”

Assisting Walker in the research were graduate students Danielle Nevarez, Yemane Mengistu and Irosha Nawarathne. Their findings are published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Danielle M. Nevarez, Yemane A. Mengistu, Irosha N. Nawarathne and Kevin D. Walker. An N-Aroyltransferase of the BAHD Superfamily Has Broad Aroyl CoA Specificity in Vitro with Analogues of N-Dearoylpaclitaxel. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009; 090402100406033 DOI: 10.1021/ja900545m

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "'Green Chemistry' Could Ease Manufacture, Boost Usefulness Of Cancer Drug." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402194451.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2009, April 4). 'Green Chemistry' Could Ease Manufacture, Boost Usefulness Of Cancer Drug. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402194451.htm
Michigan State University. "'Green Chemistry' Could Ease Manufacture, Boost Usefulness Of Cancer Drug." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402194451.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins