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Archive for April 9th, 2007

Fungal Fight Against Prostate Cancer

Posted by David Bradley on April 9th, 2007

GallielalactoneA natural product from a tree fungus could be the latest weapon in fighting aggressive prostate cancer, according to researchers at Lund University, Sweden. The compound, galiellalactone, could be used against tumors that are otherwise untreatable with surgery, or hormone therapy.

“In our trials this compound has curbed the growth of prostate cancer cells both in animal experiments and in laboratory experiments,” explains team member Rebecka Hellsten. The researchers have developed a synthetic route to the compound and hope to exploit it in fine-tuning the structure for greater efficacy.

Gallielalactone originates in Galiella rufa, a bowl-shaped fungus that grows on dead wood in eastern North America. The fungi are bowl-shaped, dark on the outside, reddish yellow on the inside, and a few centimeters across. German scientists previously discovered that this particular fungus was active against prostate cancer cells, although this finding was entirely serendipitous as the team was originally looking for novel disrupters of cell signaling pathways in human cells. The absolute configuration of the compound was published in 2001 by colleagues Martin Johansson and Olov Sterner.