Self-assembling anti-cancer molecules created in minutes

Prof Peter Scott - University of Warwick
Prof Peter Scott – University of Warwick
Like a self-assembling ‘Lego Death Star’, says lead researcher 

Researchers have developed a simple and versatile method for making artificial anti-cancer molecules that mimic the properties of one of the body’s natural defence systems. 

The chemists, led by Professor Peter Scott at the University of Warwick, UK, have been able to produce molecules that have a similar structure to peptides which are naturally produced in the body to fight cancer and infection. 

Published in Nature Chemistry, the molecules produced in the research have proved effective against colon cancer cells in laboratory tests, in collaboration with Roger Phillips at the Institute for Cancer Therapeutics, Bradford, UK. 

Artificial peptides had previously been difficult and prohibitively expensive to manufacture in large quantities, but the new process takes only minutes and does not require costly equipment. Also, traditional peptides that are administered as drugs are quickly neutralised by the body’s biochemical defences before they can do their job.

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