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Chemical Biology

The study of life at the molecular level merges the disciplines of chemistry and biology, and is consequently called chemical biology. This research area is complex, and we lack a lot of essential knowledge and are far away from describing life in molecular terms. However, researchers makes continuous progress, and with time we will be able to understand life in the chemical context, but also, to design new drugs that in a safer and more efficient way treat cancer.

STAT-3 structure (Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

An example of a project aiming at designing new drugs based on chemical biology is a collaboration project between chemists at the Faculty of Science, that develop new derivates with more drug-like properties from a natural occurring product, and researchers at the Medical Faculty, that study the biological effects of the compounds in vitro and in vivo. In this specific project the natural product gallielalactone, which is a fungal metabolite, has showed to inhibit tumor growth in prostate cancer by binding to STAT-3. The binding of gallielalactone inhibits STAT-3 binding to DNA and thereby cause the prostate cancer cell to die. 

This project is one of several projects focusing on the development on new anti-cancer agents that act by novel mechanisms. Project like this requires a number of highly specialized competences, cutting edge research and a cadre of advanced instruments. The profound experience of developing small molecules for cancer drug treatment will be further developed within the MAD for Cancer Program.

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