Melanoma is a very aggressive cancer, responsable for 80% of all deaths from skin cancer. The weapons for the treatment of melanoma are very scarce and new technologies have been exploited to identify specific molecular targets and ligands. In view of the low efficiency of melanoma therapy owing to its fast growth, metastasis, and resistance to drugs which cause severe side effects, the search for new molecules with increased specificity for the tumor is warranted. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) cause structural damage in cellular components such as proteins, lipids and DNA. Tumor cells survive at high ROS concentrations and some chemotherapeutics further increase this concentration inducing apoptosis. The group of chemists of Prof. Tavares from the Faculty of Pharmacy of USP synthesized 23 compounds derived from nifuroxazide, an antimicrobial agent used in clinics and showed the toxicity of these compounds against parasites and bacteria. The mechanism of action of these compounds is based on the generation of ROS. This project aims at testing these derivatives as an alternative in the treatment of melanoma using in vitro and in vivo syngeneic models developed in our laboratory as well the methodology of cytotoxicity in tumor cells also studied at the Experimental Oncology Unit.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: