Scientific ASIA

A new peptide active against certain cancers is identified

Demand for new kinds of antibiotics is surging, as drug-resistant and emerging infections are becoming an increasingly serious global health threat. Researchers are racing to reexamine certain microbes that serve as one of our most successful sources of therapeutics: the actinomycetes.

A team of U.S. researchers has identified a rare bacterium that is active against certain cancers. The bacterium, Lentzeaflaviverrucosa, that produces petrichorin A.

“Rare actinomycetes are an underexploited source of new bioactive compounds,” said Joshua Blodgett, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, co-corresponding author of the new study. “Our genomics-based approach allowed us to identify an unusual peptide for future drug design efforts.”

Petrichorin A, a dumbbell-like natural product, was evaluated for anti-cancer activity against multiple cancer cell lines. The researchers conducted a preliminary test and discovered that petrichor in A was not toxic to a normal human cell line. With this observation, his team proved that petrichor in A was active against ovarian cancer, fibrosarcoma, prostate cancer, and T-cell leukemia. This highlighted the importance of including petrichor in A in future research on pharmaceutical design and discovery programs.

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