Development of novel cancer therapies that selectively target cancer cells through mechanisms unique to cancer biology remains an important challenge in the fight against cancer. This task is made even more difficult due to the vast number of different cancer types, each with its own unique biology. However, certain biological pathways are common to many different varieties of cancer, providing an opportunity for the development of a general therapy for cancer treatment. One such pathway is hypoxia-induced angiogenesis, which has been suggested to be the driving force for around 70% of human cancer types. Development of a selective small molecule inhibitor of this pathway would represent a major step forward in cancer treatment, enabling effective treatment of a diverse range of different cancer types. Pleurotin is an antibiotic fungal metabolite first isolated in 1947 and found to possess powerful anticancer properties. Despite being known for 70 years, the exact mechanism of pleurotin?s anticancer effect remains unknown, although it is proposed to function through inhibition of hypoxia-induced angiogenesis. This proposed biological mode of action has made pleurotin a high value target for both biological studies and chemical synthesis. This research proposal describes a short chemical synthesis of pleurotin through rapid formation of the challenging trans- hydrindane motif found in the natural product. Due to the prevalence of trans-hydrindane structures in a variety of natural products, this strategy should enable the synthesis of a wealth of molecules with varied biological activity. The research plan also outlines the synthesis and biological testing of novel pleurotin analogs. The combination of analog synthesis and biological assays will allow for the elucidation of the mechanism of pleurotin?s anticancer properties, potentially leading to new general treatments for cancer. Overall, the proposed research will allow for the rapid synthesis of an important natural product and provide valuable information on the mechanism of inhibition of a prevalent driving force in human cancer.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal describes a fully synthetic route to pleurotin, a natural product discovered in 1947 that was found to possess potent anticancer properties. Pleurotin is believed to function through inhibition of hypoxia-triggered angiogenesis in tumors, a mechanism that is prevalent in a wide variety of cancer types. The outlined synthesis and biological testing of pleurotin and new synthetic pleurotin analogs will determine the source of pleurotin?s powerful anticancer properties allowing for the development of novel cancer therapies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Bond, Michelle Rueffer
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Berkeley
Graduate Schools
United States
Zip Code