An organic complex, composed of phenazines, which would be up to four times more fatal to cancer than other drug therapies used to date, and which would also leave non-cancerous cells unharmed.
A study carried out by a research team in Tokyo and published in the American Chemical Society Omega magazine has demonstrated the extraordinary effectiveness of an organic complex, composed of “phenazines“, which would be up to four times more fatal for tumours than other drug therapies used to date, and which would also leave non-cancerous cells unharmed.
The important discovery was revealed by a Japanese team led by Professor Kouji Kuramochi. The therapy in question, consisting of a large group of heterocycles containing nitrogen, would therefore be able to annihilate cancer cells.
There are more than one hundred phenazin compounds in nature and more than 6,000 can be “synthesised”. Of these, N-alkylphenazin-1-one (phenazinones) are a smaller group of phenazines that are known to have antibacterial, antifungal and cytotoxic activities.
Cytotoxicity is a known property in cancer research, because if it is possible to “direct” cytotoxic compounds to work against cancer cells, then it will destroy tumours.
Prof Kuramochi said: “Piocianin, lavanducianin, WS-9659 A derived from lavanducianin, WS-9659 B and marinocyanins A and B, all different types of phenazines, show cytotoxic activities against cancer cells. However, these compounds are difficult to derive from their natural sources such as bacteria.
Kuramochi and his team look forward to testing the effects of phenazinones in animal studies and clinical trials. In the development of anticancer drugs, drugs that have little effect on normal cells and selectively act on cancer cells are ideal candidate drugs with few side effects.
These new compounds are more than 4 times more selectively toxic to cancer cells than normal cells. Only time will tell whether this is the new door that opens for cancer treatment, but this is a definite step in the right direction.