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Scientists have synthesized new molecules with anticancer and antioxidant activity

A group of scientists from Moscow universities led by Yan Ivanenkov, the head of Laboratory of Medical Chemistry and Bioinformatics in MIPT, has succeeded in synthesizing a set of novel selenohydantoins with anticancer and antioxidant activity. The corresponding paper has been published in the scientific journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry.

It was found that synthesized molecules could potentially be used as anticancer agents with good selectivity index. Hydantoin moiety and its derivatives can be found in many drug molecules, including nilutamide, which is used in chemotherapy for prostate cancer, and dantrolene, which helps to relax skeletal muscles and prevent cramps.

Selenohydantoins are derivatives of hydantoins in which one of the oxygen atoms is replaced by selenium. It was found that drug molecules containing selenium possess anticancer activity and can be used as effective antioxidants. Selenium can be found in a number of known drug molecules, such as Ebselen – an antioxidant with a broad spectrum of therapeutic activity.

In the study, the scientists have synthesized novel selenium-containing hydantoin derivatives. The structures of the molecules obtained were confirmed by NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) spectroscopy, high resolution mass spectrometry, and X-ray analysis. It was found that in the presence of Cu2+ copper cations, a spatial transformation is observed and a stable isomer is formed.

The general structural formula of selenohydantoins
The general structural formula of selenohydantoins
Image: Y. Ivanenkov et.al. Bioorganic & Medical Chemistry (2016)