Scientists discover how antibiotic molecule found in bacteria stops breast cancer


New research by scientists at the University of Cambridge and published in Nature Chemistry this week has shed light on how thiostrepton ‘clamps’ a cancer-causing protein called FOXM1, preventing it from attaching  to specific stretches of DNA and activating genes that regulate the growth and division of cells.

Lead author, Professor Shankar Balasubramanian said: “This naturally-occurring molecule doesn’t have all the right properties to be used as a breast cancer treatment itself. But this exciting discovery paves the way for the design of more potent and selective drugs based on the structure of thiostrepton to block the FOXM1 protein.”

To read the full article from University of Cambridge research news click here

Nagaratna S. Hegde, Deborah A. Sanders, Raphaël Rodriguez, Shankar Balasubramanian; “The transcription factor FOXM1 is a cellular target of the natural product thiostrepton”  Nature Chemistry Vol 3, P725–731 (2011)  doi:10.1038/nchem.1114 Link


Image by Annie Cavanagh of Wellcome Images