Natural products in cancer prevention and treatment

Research Fields

Synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, natural products, cancer cell biology, cancer signalling pathways

Research Highlights

  • Development of a synthetic route to ajoene analogues
  • Synthesis of ajoene-labelled probes
  • Unravelling the cytotoxic mechanism of action of ajoene in cancer cells

Research Summary

The primary focus of the Kaschula group is to utilise the chemical properties of natural dietary compounds and natural products in cancer prevention and treatment. These compounds include organosulfur compounds from garlic, flavonols from edible plants, and isothiocyanates from cruciferous plants. The group uses synthetic organic chemistry to understand structure-activity relationships of the compounds, and also to synthesise more potent analogues which may be developed as cancer therapeutics. We have specialised in synthesising tagged analogues of natural products in order to study the mechanism, and to identify the biological targets.

Applications of Research

  • Diet and cancer prevention
  • Cancer therapeutic development
  • Design and synthesis of probes for cancer

    Catherine Kaschula

  • Senior Lecturer
  • kaschula[at]
  • +27 21 808 2180