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ACS News Service Weekly PressPac -- August 23, 2006

In This Edition:

  • New method for making potential cancer fighter
  • Hand-held instrument to detect public health and safety threats
  • A few hours of thinness for crude oil
  • Promising new data on a gasoline-saving device that cuts air pollution
  • The spin on spintronics
  • Special Event: Register for Nanotechnology Media Tour at the ACS San Francisco Meeting
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ARTICLE #1: New method for making potential cancer fighter Journal of the American Chemical Society


Ras is a protein that works as a molecular switch, triggering biochemical events inside certain cells that lead to cancer. The gene that produces ras gained notoriety as the first known oncogene -- a gene that can cause cancer. Six years ago, Japanese scientists discovered that rasfonin, a compound isolated from a fungus, selectively destroys ras-dependent cells. Normal cells were not harmed.

With the prospect that rasfonin could lead to a new family of anti-cancer drugs, scientists began searching for a way to make enough rasfonin for tests. Scientists now are reporting development of that simpler method in a report scheduled for the Aug. 23 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Robert K. Boeckman Jr. and colleagues explain that the only existing synthesis was complicated and not easily adapted for producing larger amounts of rasfonin. Their method involves only 16 steps (compared to 23 in the previous method) and produces 67 percent more rasfonin.

ARTICLE #1: "Toward the development of a General Chiral Auxiliary. Enantioselective Alkylation and a New Catalytic Asymmetric Addition of Silyloxyfurans: Application to a Total Synthesis of (-)-Rasfonin"

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Contact: Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
202-872-4400
American Chemical Society
28-Aug-2006


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