Smart drugs against cancer
Many chemotherapy regimens such as cisplatin target DNA, causing non-specific side effects in normal cells. Therefore, there is a pressing need for new, more specific and effective anti-cancer drugs. The EU-funded G4Redox project addresses this problem by developing compounds that leave double-stranded DNA intact and target transient G-quadruplex DNA structures that form during replication and transcription. Moreover, these drugs become activated only in the presence of low oxygen levels such as in the case of the tumour microenvironment. Researchers envision combining these drugs with other anti-cancer pharmaceuticals for a synergistic effect.