According to the National Cancer Institute, doctors diagnosed about 170000 new cases of cancer in the year 2018 alone. Over 600,000 people in the U.S succumbed their lives to this disease.
On a global level, cancer continues to be among the leading cause of death. Till the time you reach 2030, the NCI estimates that more than23.6million cases of cancer will emerge.
Therefore, researchers are working extremely hard to find new strategies that will help them find this chronic disease. With every passing day, more and more scientists are beginning to find a cure in nature.
The scientists of the current study also focused on the same principle while trying to find a solution to cancer. The researchers collaborated with a professor of medicinal chemistry to check the molecular structures and therapeutic potential of Abies beshanzuensis, an endangered tree of a Chinese fir tree.
The findings of this study have been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
The Efficacy of Compound 29
The research team attempted to create different structural analogs of various compounds found in the tree. One of these compounds was found to be a potent inhibitor of SHP2, an enzyme that has been associated with leukemia, liver cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, laryngeal cancer, oral cancer, gastric cancer, and various other types of this deadly disease.
SHP2 is among the most important anti-cancer targets in the cancer treatment. This is true for a whole variety of cancers. A lot of pharmaceutical companies are trying their best to create a drug that works against this enzyme.
This compound was named as compound 30. The scientists explained its mechanism of action by telling how it binds with the SHP2 enzyme with the help of a covalent bond. This is in contrast to other compounds for treating cancer that is unable to form such a stable bond with SHP2.
While the compound 30 forms a long-lasting and more secure form of a bond, the scientists wondered if it was able to interact with other proteins.
In order to find this out, the researchers used a compound 29, an analog of compound 30 with a slightly different structure. This was attached with a chemical tag so that it could be used as a catch or bait other proteins.
Doing this caused the singling out of another type of enzyme called POLE3. This enzyme is responsible for the synthesis and repair of DNA. So, there was an interaction between POLE3 and compound 29, however, the compound 29 was not found to affect the cancer cells on its own.
These results suggested that combining compound 29 with a cancer medicine targeting DNA synthesis can be an effective way to treat it. After more research, the team found etoposide as a good candidate.
Compound 29 alone could not kill cancer cells but combining it with etoposide makes it more effective. This may be able to improve some of the drugs meant for cancer but may also help in getting new information about POLE3.