The Drug Digoxin or Digitalis, which comes from the foxglove plant, is normally used to help the heart beat efficiently by maintaining the rhythm of the heart and treat heart diseases. The chemical nature of the drug is changed by the team of researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison to make the drug fight against cancer.
This technique is called as neo (new)-glyco (sugar)-randomisation, which works by changing the sugars attached to the drug. By changing the way the sugars are grouped on a drug, it changes the way how the drug works. By switching the sugars in digitalis it was possible to boost the ability of the drug to target cancer cells and kill them.
By using this technique of neoglycorandomisation it is possible to develop drugs for other disease. It is possible to manipulate the drug for treatment of different diseases.
Dr. Hazel Nunn of Cancer Research has said, "We've already taken this chemistry and applied it to many different classes and it is possible to extend it to antibiotics and antivirals. If you want to plug a sugar and see what it does for you, this is the best way to do it.
This technique is an important biomedical advance, which could increase the chances of finding active drugs against cancer and a wide range of other conditions.
Any drug developed using this technique will need to go through rigorous clinical trials to determine their safety and effectiveness in humans.
Source: BBC News