The research interests of our group are the design, synthesis, instrumental analysis, biotransformations and in vitro testing of novel, more selectively acting antitumor agents. The emphasis of the research is the development of new platinum complexes having more potent activity on various cancers. One goal in particular is the development of light activated Pt(IV)-prodrugs for the local therapy of lung, mouth, esophagus, bladder and skin cancer. The scheme below illustrates our drug-design concept.
Both preparative organic and inorganic methods are used to synthesize the new metal complexes. In addition to characterizing the complexes with the usual spectroscopic methods, one focus of our research is the stability and biotransformation reactions of the compounds under biological conditions. For these studies we make strong use of HPLC, UV/vis, NMR and AAS methods. The biological activities of the complexes are first investigated with cell culture methods; here the compounds are tested for growth inhibitor activity on a series ("panel") of human cancer cell lines growing in culture. We rely heavily on modern computer methods for data collection, storage and analysis. Attempts are made to identify possible quantitative structure activity relationships (QSAR) in the data. Compounds that show promising in vitro activity are tested for antitumor activity in animal tumor models.
Collaborations exist between the the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (Prof. Dr. V. Brabec, Institute of Biophysics), the Medical University of Gdansk, Poland ( Prof. Dr. F. Saczewski, Institute of Pharmacy), the University of Warwick, UK, (Prof. Dr. P. J. Sadler, Department of Chemistry), the University of Western Sydney (Prof. Dr. J. Aldrich-Wright, Biomedical and Health Sciences), University of Münster (Prof. Dr. B. Wünsch, Institut für Pharmazie).
Currently our research is being supported by the German Research Society (DFG).