Great new research from the department of chemistry:
The drug dichloroacetate, or DCA, was touted as a cure-all, but after years of work, scientists are still searching for ways to make the unique treatment as effective as possible.
Now, researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered a new way to deliver this drug that may one day make it a viable treatment for numerous forms of cancer. They published their findings in the American Chemical Society's journal ACS Chemical Biology.
"DCA shows great promise as a potential cancer treatment, but the drug doesn't find and attack cancer cells very efficiently in the doses researchers are testing," said Shanta Dhar, an assistant professor of chemistry in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "We have developed a new compound based on DCA that is three orders of magnitude more potent than standard treatments."
Every cell in the body needs energy to divide and grow, and most of them do this by breaking down sugar. When cells misbehave, they are normally deprived of their food and die in a process called apoptosis.
Dhar is becoming one of the foremost cancer researchers in the country, and this new work (and accompanying technology) only re-emphasize that case. So very much goes into getting to the stage where we can promote published results from our faculty, and having the institutional pieces of the puzzle in place where our researchers can do their best work is where these real benefits to society can be glimpsed. Hard to overstate the implications of this new research, the product of great perserverence and dedication by Dr. Dhar and her team. And it's also occasion to remember how many things have to happen in concert to make it all possible.
Image: Shanta Dhar, with graduate assitant Sean Marrache, in her lab.