A recently discovered group of molecules could open up a new front in the fight against cancer and infectious diseases, scientists have claimed.
Researchers at the University of East Anglia said synthetic UDP-galactose derivatives could be used to prevent cancer cells and bacteria communicating with one another through sugar cells.
The disease or infection relies on the sugary overcoat and enzymes called glycosyltransferases to link these cells together – precisely the substance that the derivatives attack and block.
Lead researcher Dr Gerd Wagner believes the procedure has the potential to disrupt cancer metastasis and bacterial infection.
Speaking in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, he said: “The ‘snapshots’ we have taken of one of these enzymes, together with the new inhibitor itself, can provide very valuable guidance for the development of new anti-cancer and anti-infective drug candidates.”
Copyright Press Association 2010
Nature: Chemical Biology