Chalcone 4 – Taking Leukemia to The Cleaners!
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Chalcone 4 – Taking Leukemia to The Cleaners!

Our body works like a country – we have cells that carry out particular functions with some contributing to defense (white blood cells). One may think the greater the white blood cell count, safer the body. However, you may have heard of the moniker “excess of everything is bad”. It stands true with white blood cells too. Sometimes white blood cells are created in a much larger number, but they don’t seem to work right. Something goes awry in the production line and quantity takes over quality, abundance takes over function and blood cancer, called leukemia, begins its onset.

Leukemia relapse is observed in some patients, sometimes with deadly consequences, when a certain enzyme in these cancer cells is triggered. This ‘funny bone’ of cancer cells is the FLT3 enzyme. Ugly name for an ugly character! However, we can always trust nature to have all the elements of a well-balanced script. This is where the combined efforts of Haleema Sadia Malik and her team, including Dr. Amir Faisal and Dr. Rahman Saleem make a plot entry. The team figured out a way to ‘inject this enzyme with poison’ so that it stops working. They have discovered an enzyme inhibitor that targets specifically the FLT3 and even stops the process of reproduction within cancer cells that house this troublemaker of an enzyme. The inhibitor of ugly we’re referring to is Chalcone 4. Chalcone 4 - it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Well, Haleema’s team will agree!

Researching on a family of Chalcones, Haleema and her team have learned that different types offer different blows to FLT3 with Chalcone 4 being a direct inhibitor of FLT3 – exactly what was needed.


The research paper was published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Natural Products. 

Natural and Semisynthetic Chalcones as Dual FLT3 and Microtubule Polymerization Inhibitors - DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.0c00699

Reference: Haleema Sadia Malik, Aishah Bilal, Rahim Ullah, Maheen Iqbal, Sardraz Khan, Ishtiaq Ahmed, Karsten Krohn, Rahman Shah Zaib Saleem, Hidayat Hussain, and Amir Faisal