Prodrugs are substances that only release their effects once they have been metabolised. The prodrugs of the FAU research team led by Prof. Dr. Andriy Mokhir, Professorship of Organic Chemistry, are activated in the organism by means of a chemical reaction with specific molecules that contain oxygen, known as reactive oxygen species. These molecules are found in large numbers in cancer cells.
The researchers demonstrated that their prodrugs were effective both in cell lines and Nemeth‐Kellner lymphoma mouse models, which serve as a model for leukaemia in humans.
Prodrugs induce stress in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of cancer cells, the area within cells which produces proteins the organism requires. Inducing ER stress in this way inhibits cancer cell growth.
Other medicines which also increase this effect such as Bortezomib und Carilzomib,have so far resulted in undesired side effects. Prodrugs, however, have very little effect on normal cells.