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On the Generation of Novel Anticancer Drugs by Recombinant DNA Technology: The Use of Combinatorial Biosynthesis to Produce Novel Drugs

[ Vol. 6 , Issue. 6 ]


Carmen Mendez and Jose A. Salas   Pages 513 - 526 ( 14 )


Chemotherapeutic drugs for cancer treatment have been traditionally originated by the isolation of natural products from differet environmental niches, by chemical synthesis or by a combination of both approaches thus generating semisynthetic drugs. In the last years, a number of gene clusters from several antitumor biosynthetic pathways, mainly produced by actinomycetes and belonging to the polyketides family, are being characterized. Genetic manipulation of these antitumor biosynthetic pathways will offer in the near future an alternative for the generation of novel antitumor derivatives and thus complementing current methods for obtaining novel anticancer drugs. Novel antitumor derivatives have been produced by targetted gene disruption and heterologous expression of single (or a few) gene(s) in another hosts or by combining genes from different, but structurally related, biosynthetic pathways (“combinatorial biosynthesis”). These strategies take advantage from the “relaxed substrate specificity” that characterize secondary metabolism enzymes.


Anticancer Drugs, antitumor, heterologous, actinomycetes, polyketides


Departamento de Biologia Funcional e Instituto Universitario de Oncologia del Principado de Asturias(I.U.O.P.A), Universidad de Oviedo. 33006 Oviedo. Spain.

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