Cancer Information Helpline Call 0800 226 237 Email an Information nurse
Past

Identifying compounds with anti-cancer properties from New Zealand soil

By Dr Mark Calcott

Dr Mark Calcott has been funded $214,776 to support his research.

Dr Mark Calcott, Victoria University of Wellington

Identifying compounds with anti-cancer properties from New Zealand soil

Duocarmycins are a small family of exceptionally toxic natural products that hold great potential as anti-cancer agents.

Few naturally occurring compounds of the duocarmycin family have been discovered - only four in total since the first was identified nearly 40 years ago. The limited diversity results from a non-targeted approach to searching for compounds and consequently it is likely that we have not discovered the best duocarmycin analogues present in nature.

This study will use a new method for discovering duocarmycin compounds from New Zealand soils. Once the researchers have isolated the compounds they will be characterised and tested for anti-cancer properties.

How will it help people affected by cancer?

These targeted methods could aid the discovery of new duocarmycin compounds, which could then be used as scaffolds for designing new anti-cancer drugs.