After 20 years of dedicated research, scientists have cracked the chemical code of an incredibly complex 'anti-tumour antibiotic' known to be highly effective against cancer cells as well as drug-resistant bacteria, and have reproduced it synthetically in the lab for the first time.
The 'super substance' kedarcidin was discovered in its natural form by a pharmaceutical company when they extracted it from a soil sample in India almost 30-years ago. Soil is the natural source of all antibiotics developed since the 1940s but in order for them to be developed as potential drug treatments they must be produced via chemical synthesis. Kedarcidin is incredible in its biological activity, as it works by causing DNA damage to its target, but also in its structural complexity. It has been the subject of extensive research by scientists around the world but because of its complex structure they Kedarcidin's anticancer properties also make it a fascinating subject for scientists exploring new ways of tackling aggressive cancerous tumours. Now it is possible to recreate the substance synthetically, researchers will be able to gain a greater insight into the mechanisms which make it so effective against leukaemia and melanoma cells for example.