Fragrance Ingredient May Hold Promise in Personalized Medicine

Zewail City’s researchers identify a compound commonly used in perfume manufacturing as a novel DNA repair inhibitor, sensitizing cancer cells to chemotherapy in a gene specific manner. The research group explained their novel findings in a paper published in Scientific Reports, a Nature Publishing Group Journal, on May 25, 2016.

The research group reported a compound called isoeugenol as a potential lead for developing inhibitors for TDP2, an enzyme that fixes breaks in our genetic material. The findings give hope to tailor drugs for cancer patients based on their genetic makeup and thus limit side effects. The authors recommend future structure-activity relationship studies to improve potency and shed light on its utility in drug discovery programs.

“Genetic diversity is a major challenge facing personalized medicine,” said Sherif El-Khamisy, director of the Center for Genomics. “In this research we combined genetics with pharmacological approaches utilizing natural products to uncover novel treatment strategies,” he added. The research team consists of Wahba Elsayed, Lamia El-Shafie, Mohamed Kamel, Mohamed Farag, and led by El-Khamisy.

The research is a continuous effort of the Center for Genomics at Zewail City to develop a personalized therapy for cancer to minimize mortality rates among cancer patients. El-Khamisy and his group started in 2010 by discovering TDP2 (published in Nature), followed by reporting the first human diseases that arise from its defect in 2014 (published in Nature Genetics), and now report the first inhibitor from a natural origin with potential applications in personalized therapy.


About the Center for Genomics:

The Center for Genomics employs the latest cutting-edge research combining genetics, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, and whole animal approaches to understand genomic differences underpinning health and disease. The center is led by Prof. El-Khamisy with over 2000 citations and an H-index of 22.

About Zewail City of Science and Technology:

Zewail City of Science and Technology is a non-profit organization. It is dedicated for advancing education, research, and economic development. The City is governed by the Supreme Advisory Board (Board of Trustees) which includes five Nobel Laureates, and with a special Law that grants its independence.