Australian researchers found an anti – cancer compound in a woody shrub. The drug shows activity against several human cancer cells lines and has a great potential in treating colon cancer. Another thing of great importance is that the researchers have successfully extracted a great amount of compound from woody shrub that grows in Malaysia and other parts of South East Asia.

Researchers found the chemical synthesis of two potent, episilvestrol and silvestrol and so they can produce these complex and potent compounds in the laboratory. Unfortunately, only small amounts of these compounds can be isolated from nature and the chemical synthesis is the only solution as a source of these molecules for further testing in cancer treatment. Also, researchers found that the similar chemicals can be made from not so expensive starting materials.

A simple sugar and a flavone, simple starting materials were used to synthesize the anti – cancer compounds. Additionally, a simplified analogue has been created and it shows potent activity against human colon cancer.

Researchers hope that the next step – testing in a living organism will give significant results in cancer treatment.