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IUCr bursary case study: Structural and biological study of tin-based complexes against enzymes that propagate cancer

yusof_smallIn 2016 alone, the IUCr sponsored 40 international meetings and schools. One recent recipient of an  IUCr Young Scientist Award reveals the importance of these travel grants to their research and experience.

Cisplatin and its subsequent clinical success generated interest in researchers with regards to the use of metal complexes as anticancer drugs. Cisplatin still plays a major role in treating over 90% of testicular cancer cases and is now one of the most successful anticancer drugs available on the market.

Cisplatin generally interacts with DNA by inducing programmed cell death (apoptosis). Although cisplatin is used in cancer treatment there are side effects such as anemia, diarrhea, alopecia, petechia, fatigue, nephrotoxicity, emetogenesis, ototoxicity and neurotoxicity. This then opened up research areas in synthesizing metal based drugs, including developing tin-based anticancer drugs derived from dithiocarbazate Schiff bases. I have embarked on the structural and biological study of tin-based complexes against four enzymes that propagate cancer: ribonucleotide reductase, thymidylate synthase, thymidylate phosphorylase and topoisomerase II. Sponsorship from the IUCr allowed me to attend the 16th BCA/CCG Intensive Teaching School in X-ray Structure Analysis at Durham U., UK. There, with help from tutors and lecturers, I learned much about the theory behind X-ray crystallography, which enabled me to solve single-crystal X-ray diffraction data while understanding the processes involved. Single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis allows me to determine the real mode of coordination for docking analysis functions. In addition, I had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with front-line researchers in the field of crystallography from different universities. These connections have helped me to view my project from different perspectives and to gain more understanding on how to better apply single-crystal X-ray data to my own work.

Enis Nadia Md Yusof, Department of Chemistry, U. Putra Malaysia, Malaysia