Cancer is the biggest killer in Australia and whilst treatments have improved, the majority of anti-cancer drugs designed to target DNA can cause other unwanted side effects. The higher the dose, the more side effects.
But now researchers from the University of New England have developed a way of targeting molecules to DNA to help anti-cancer chemotherapy drugs be more effective with fewer side effects.
DNA targeting drugs need to damage cancerous cells to stop them from reproducing. To work effectively, they need to penetrate a cell’s membrane. But because the membrane usually traps larger organic molecules, the drug’s efficiency is reduced because not enough molecules can reach the DNA target inside the cell.
However Professor Steve Glover from the School of Science and Technology and his team have shown that a simple molecule, naphthalene, when attached to a class of DNA damaging agents, will significantly enhance their reaction with bacterial DNA.
Medical discoveries like this are only made possible through university research. That’s why funding for our universities is crucial if we want to keep Australia clever.
For further reading, please see University of New England.