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University of Vienna: On the path to individual tumor therapies

structure of plecstatin-1 © University of Vienna

This identification has turned out to be quite difficult. For this reason, scientists assume that metal-based substances damage cancer cells in a rather unselective manner. In order to enable optimal therapeutic success, it is necessary to deploy customized drugs in an individualized approach with clear molecular targets and mechanisms of action. A research team led by Christopher Gerner from the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Vienna has achieved a milestone in solving the well-known problem. In examining molecular target structures by means of mass spectrometry, especially metal-organic, ruthenium-containing substances, it became clear that it was not the DNA but proteins which are important target molecules.

"Our conclusions are cause for hope that target structures of other, already established drugs can now also be identified using well-known analytical processes and strategies”, says Christopher Gerner from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna. In this way, important metal-organic substances can be integrated into the group of customized medicines which are available for individualized and thus personally optimized use. A substance, plecstatin, was discovered and characterized and can be deployed as a new type of customized drug for cancer therapy.

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