Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Researchers demonstrate that monensin antibiotic prevents prostate cancer cell growth

We know that, monensin was first described by Agtarap et al. in 1967, and was the first polyether antibiotic to have its structure elucidated in this way. The first total synthesis of monensin was reported in 1979 by Kishi et al. 

Researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Turku have demonstrated that  "monensin" prevents the growth of prostate cancer cells. 

Evidence pointing to the effects of monensin emerged in a project investigating the effects of nearly 5,000 drugs and micromolecules on the growth of prostate cancer cells. The project involved most of the drugs on the market today. Researchers found that small amounts of compounds - disulfiram (Antabus), thiram, tricostatin A, and monensin (see structure) - can prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells without significant effects on the growth of the normal human prostate epithelial cells.  Further studies revealed that monensin caused prostate cancer cell death by reducing the amount of testosterone receptor and by increasing production of reactive oxygen species and inducing DNA damage. In addition, monensin was shown to have combined effects with anti-androgens - the drugs suppressing the effects of androgens - in preventing prostate cancer cell growth. 

"These research findings give rise to a potential new use for the monensin. The results also demonstrate that the effects of anti-androgens in suppressing the growth of cancer cells can be enhanced by using drugs inducing production of reactive oxygen species", say Senior Research Scientist Kristiina Iljin from VTT and Research Scientist Kirsi Ketola from the University of Turku....

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