Better molecules for better medicine

Annie Castonguay, a researcher at Quebec’s Institut national de la recherche scientifique, works to mobilize metals to destroy cancer cells and drug-resistant bacteria when traditional antibiotics and cancer treatments fall short
Organic chemistry
Portrait of Annie Castonguay

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy aren’t perfect. The drugs meant to kill cancerous cells aren’t choosy, so they take out healthy cells too, which can mean serious side-effects for the patient. And if cancer cells develop a resistance, the therapies might not result in a complete remission. Engineering new molecules that incorporate the power of metals to destroy diseased cells could not only lead to more effective cancer treatments, but also better defences against another serious health threat — multidrug resistant bacteria.