Synthetic and Biopolymer Chemistry
David Horne, Ph.D.
626-256-4673, ext. 67310
The Synthetic and Biopolymer Chemistry Core (SBCC) provides both biopolymer and small-molecule synthetic services to scientists at City of Hope.
The Core’s capability to deliver these services which commercial enterprises cannot provide has evolved over its more than three decades of history at City of Hope. Since its establishment in 1974 under the leadership of Dr. Bruce Kaplan, the laboratory has been a critical participant in an impressive list of research and pharmaceutical achievements. Its pioneering work on solid DNA analysis led to the bioengineering of synthetic insulin (Humulin), a drug still in wide use by millions of people with diabetes. In 1989, the SBCC provided synthetic RNA and DNA/RNA chimeras to City of Hope researchers and was, for a time, one of only three RNA-producing laboratories in the US.
Today the Synthetic and Biopolymer Chemistry Core contributes to research at City of Hope with a wide variety of highly specialized capabilities.
In general, activities at the Core include:
- Providing expertise, consultation, and first-hand experience in the area of chemical synthesis and design of polymers;
- Offering broad expertise in the custom synthesis of organic-based compounds, with particular emphasis on complex natural products, and development of improved synthetic routes;
- Providing scale-up protocols for pure materials to be used in pre-clinical and clinical investigations;
- Facilitating collaborations among molecular biologists, chemists, structural biologists, pharmacologists, and clinicians;
- Supporting small-molecule drug discovery for chemical biology and cancer therapeutics development;
- Offering synthesis of radiolabeled compounds and biologicals, such as imaging agents and antibody conjugates;
- Facilitating the sharing of instruments, methodologies, and chemical insights among project investigators throughout the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Looking at these services in more detail provides a more accurate picture of the SBCC’s contributions to scientific advancements at City of Hope.
Its capacity for total synthesis of natural products and derivatives is a unique strength of the Core, along with its use of state-of-the-art synthetic methodologies for the efficient construction of molecular agents and ligands. The Core can design and synthesize highly-specialized biopolymers, including siRNA-aptamers, DNA-peptide hybrid derivatives, and peptides. It can provide synthesis of all structural classes of small to large organic molecules, including very complex molecules and small-molecule agonists and antagonists. It also engages in synthesis of imaging agents, affinity ligands, nanoparticles, and focused combinatorial libraries.
An important focus of the SBCC today is the field of molecular-targeted cancer therapeutics. The Core’s efforts in this area will aid and impact advancements in chemical biology, development of lead compounds for drug discovery, and, ultimately, optimization of new drugs for preclinical evaluation.
The Synthetic and Biopolymer Chemistry Core provides City of Hope researchers an affordable means of accessing chemistry technology that cannot be supported by individual labs within the institution. The centralized intellectual and technical resources of the SBCC can assist the researcher in designing and conducting the proper experiment, preparing the appropriate samples for analysis, analyzing them in the most appropriate manner, and correctly interpreting results in conjunction with the Principal Investigator. Core staff scientists also provide essential technical support for the operation and maintenance of highly specialized instruments, such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectroscopy (MS) equipment.
This core is a Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) Sponsored Core.