The sea sponge: a new weapon against cancer!

DiscovHER Anne-Caroline Chany L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science 2015 French Fellowships and PhD at the University of Maine.

As sources of inspiration for Chemists, natural products, secreted by different living organisms, never cease to surprise us. Found in a sea sponge in New Zealand, Peloruside A has strong anti-cancerous properties. Unfortunately this compound is very rare in its natural state and has a complex chemical structure. Anne-Caroline Chany, a post-doctorate researcher at the Université du Maine, in Le Mans, has set herself the goal of using synthesis to reconstruct a simpler structural molecule, which is more accessible in large quantities, while preserving the strong anti-cancerous properties. “Peloruside A is particularly interesting because it fixes itself on an active site that is different from that of taxanes, a very common anti-cancer agent, thus resulting in a synergic effect of the two compounds, which can fight against chemoresistance”, Anne-Caroline Chany observes. If this project succeeds, it will result in a new treatment for cancer, one that is targeted and efficient.

My research is dedicated to Peloruside A, a compound from a sea sponge that is to be found in New Zealand, which has significant anti-cancerous potential. Unfortunately, it does not exist in sufficient quantities. My challenge is to construct, using synthesis, a molecule with a simpler structure, which will be accessible in much larger quantities, while retaining those anti-cancerous properties. With the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science grant, I hope to be able to present my work in France and internationally and also promote my studies to young female high school students.


For Women in Science

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