Issue Date: August 13, 2007
Insect's Venom Eyed For Cancer Defense
Camouflage is not the only trick Madagascar walkingsticks use to thwart their enemies. These insects also spray a defensive fluid, and Arthur S. Edison of the University of Florida and coworkers hope the fluid's key component, parectadial (shown), will ward off a human enemy: cancer. The researchers detail the discovery and characterization of parectadial along with their development of a synthetic route to the monoterpene (J. Nat. Prod., DOI: 10.1021/np070151g). Parectadial is structurally similar to perillyl alcohol, a plant-derived compound that has been investigated for anticancer activity. That structural similarity prompted Edison and coworkers to test parectadial's effect on tumor cells. Preliminary unpublished results indicate that the compound also has anticancer activity, leading the researchers to file a patent on parectadial.
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