New platinum compound shows promise in tumor cells

Dec 07, 2009
A diagram of cisplatin.

(PhysOrg.com) -- MIT chemists have developed a new platinum compound that is as powerful as the commonly used anticancer drug cisplatin but better able to destroy tumor cells.

The new compound, mitaplatin, combines cisplatin with another compound, dichloroacetate (DCA), which can alter the properties of selectively in . Cancer cells switch their mitochondrial properties to change the way they metabolize glucose compared to normal cells, and DCA specifically targets the altered mitochondria, leaving normal cells intact.

"This differential effect conveys on mitaplatin the ability to kill cancer cells selectively in a co-culture with normal fibroblast cells, the latter being unaffected at the doses that we apply," says Stephen Lippard, the Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry.

The chemists designed mitaplatin so that when it enters a cell, it releases cisplatin and two units of DCA by intracellular reduction. Therefore, mitaplatin can attack nuclear DNA with cisplatin and mitochondria with DCA. DCA promotes the release of cell-death-promoting factors from the mitochondria, enhancing the cancer cell-killing abilities of cisplatin.

Lippard's laboratory has shown that in rodents, mitaplatin can be tolerated at much higher doses than cisplatin, and they have begun studies in mice transplanted with human tissues. If those results are promising, the researchers plan more studies for further demonstration of mitaplatin's ability in cancer therapy.

More information: "Mitaplatin, a potent fusion of cisplatin and the orphan drug dichloroacetate," Shanta Dhar and Stephen Lippard. , week of Dec. 7, 2009.

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (news : web)

Explore further: Four billion-year-old chemistry in cells today

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Small molecule offers big hope against cancer

Jan 16, 2007

DCA is an odourless, colourless, inexpensive, relatively non-toxic, small molecule. And researchers at the University of Alberta believe it may soon be used as an effective treatment for many forms of cancer.

Recommended for you

Two teams pave way for advances in 2D materials

2 hours ago

This month's headlines on two-dimensional polymers showed noteworthy headway. "2-D Polymer Crystals Confirmed At Last," said Chemical & Engineering News. "Engineers Make the World's First Verified, 2-Dimensional P ...

Nature inspires a greener way to make colorful plastics

21 hours ago

Long before humans figured out how to create colors, nature had already perfected the process—think stunning, bright butterfly wings of many different hues, for example. Now scientists are tapping into ...

New catalyst converts carbon dioxide to fuel

23 hours ago

Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago have synthesized a catalyst that improves their system for converting waste carbon dioxide into syngas, a precursor of gasoline and other energy-rich products, bringing ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Birger
not rated yet Dec 08, 2009
The University of Alberta is progressing with tests of DCA for cancer treatment, but since it is an "orphan drug" they have to rely on donations - the pharmaceutical companies have no economic incentive to invest in research of a substance that cannot be patented.