Mycosynthetix presented at Thinking Big About Small Beings: Recent Advances On Microbial Diversity, Ecology and Biodiscovery in São Paulo, Brazil on April 28-29.
The presentation was titled Searching for Anti-Cancer and Anti-Parasite Leads from Filamentous Fungi.
Abstract: Fungi have been the source of numerous successful medicines and pesticides although it isn’t obvious why fungi make these compounds, or if there is a rational way to select fungi which can produce biologically-active metabolites. For the past 12 years Mycosynthetix, a fungus research company founded in 2001, has focused on the discovery of metabolites for medicinal and agricultural use through biological activity screening. During this period we have explored our library of >55,000 fungus isolates for diverse activities such as anti-bacterial, cytotoxicity and anti-parasitic, as well as for biopesticides, and have documented hundreds of biologically active compounds. In this presentation I will discuss results from our National Cancer Institute-funded collaboration with Prof Nicholas Oberlies of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. During this investigation extracts from a variety of cultured ascomycota were evaluated using cancer cell lines. A broad spectrum of chemical diversity was discovered during this investigation. Similarly, during programs aimed at malaria – in collaboration with Profs Bill Baker and Dennis Kyle of the University of South Florida – and micro filarial parasites we have discovered a number of compounds; although this latter program is at an early stage we have found fungus extracts and pure compounds with potent activity, i.e., comparable to the positive controls. Issues associated with selecting and culturing fungi, optimizing productivity, and taxonomy of productive organisms, as well as chemistry of active metabolites and bioassay details will be discussed.