Efficient synthesis of biologically active small molecules

  • Gemma Tunbridge

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Pancratistatin and narciclasine are natural products isolated from Pancratium litorale1 and Narcissus poeticus2 respectively. Pancratistatin and Narciclasine have been shown to possess potent antitumour activity3 however they have never been widely exploited due to their limited availability from natural sources.4 Pancratistatin and narciclasine both contain a dihydroisoquinolinone framework. The work described in this thesis explores synthetic routes relating to this dihydroisoquinolinone framework, as well as comparable tetrahydroisoquinolines. An initial proposed synthetic route involved the synthesis of the dihydroisoquinolinone framework via the corresponding indanone. Indanones have also been shown to possess potential antitumour activity.5A range of lactam and indanone analogues were synthesised and a selection were tested for biological activity against cancer cell lines. The most biologically active lactam analogue synthesised was lactam 170. Lactam 170 was synthesised via two steps from commercially available starting materials in an overall 51 % yield and was tested in the HT29 colon cancer cell line to give an IC50 value of 9 μM. Indanone 177 is an analogue of natural product indanocine and was synthesised via two steps in an overall 49 % yield. Analogue 177 was tested in the 60 cell line screen by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to give a mean GI50 value of 1.29 μM and is currently under consideration for further testing. This thesisdescribes the synthesis and biological testing of the aforementioned compounds as well as an array of analogues.
Date of Award11 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorLorenzo Caggiano (Supervisor)

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