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Palacký University
06-09-2015, 08:13, Age: 7 y.

European Patent Granted: Olomouc Scientists Have Developed New Anticancer Drugs

By: Martina Šaradínová

Comparison of structural formulas of cisplatin (on the left) and one of the representatives of the patented substances.

Scientists from the UP Department of Inorganic Chemistry and the Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and Materials have achieved a significant advancement in the development of efficient antitumour drugs.

Olomouc scientists have developed complex substances on the basis of platinum, which are more efficient than drugs used currently in chemotherapy, as well as having fewer negative side effects. This long-term research culminated with being granted a European patent, the first step to the potential utilisation of these substances in the treatment of tumour diseases.

They explored novel approaches in order to improve the effectiveness of cisplatin – one of today’s most used drugs on a basis of platinum. Their goal was to prepare substances with considerable antitumour effects as well as substances with fewer undesired side effects.

“Our systemic team research has shown that the antitumour effect may be achieved by substituting two molecules of ammonia bound to the atom of platinum in cisplatin with two molecules of 7-azaindole derivative. The required targeted biological properties were then tested on cellular and animal models in vitro, and on the basis of these findings, we applied for national as well as international patents,” said Zdeněk Trávníček, the head of the research team. The research findings were also published in a number of world-renowned scientific journals.

The granted European patent enables them to initiate negotiations with prospective interested parties on the development of the drug and its launching on the market, which would require substantial investment. “It is a prestigious thing to be granted the patent, since the applicant must meet strict criteria in terms of originality and industrial application,” said Pavel Štarha from the Department of Inorganic Chemistry.

The research was conducted in close collaboration with the UP Department of Cell Biology and Genetics. “A few years ago, we built a joint lab for in vitro testing of a wide spectrum of biological activities,” said Zdeněk Dvořák, head of the department and another co-author of the granted patent.


Illustration: A demonstration of the interaction of the patented complexes with a DNA fragment.


Thanks to the achievements of Prof Trávníček and his team, UP has obtained eight national patents and one European patent in the past five years. The patents provide legal protection for potential utilisation of biologically active complex compounds as drugs for serious illnesses.

Due to their high variability and resistance to presently used drugs and therapeutic procedures, tumour diseases are some of the most difficult diseases to treat, with high mortality, a high degree of recurrence even with seemingly cured patients, and subsequently very costly treatment. Despite significant progress in medical strategies against specific kinds of tumours, a uniform effective procedure or a versatile pharmacological preparation for treatment of any kind of tumour still does not exist. This is also why the endeavour of many experts in the field of biomedicine is directed towards finding innovative approaches and biologically active substances whose efficacy might surmount those that are failing to ensure progress in the therapy of cancer diseases today. 

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Last update: 19. 09. 2012, Vladimír Kubák