Development of new anti-cancer medication: Landomycin A

According to a forecast by the World Health Organisation, cancer will be one of the main reasons for disease-related deaths globally in 2015. As a result, it is extremely important to develop new strategies for treatment, including for chemotherapy.

Group of researcher in the laboratory

Doctoral students at the National Iwan-Franko-University in Lwiw. © A. Luzhetskyy

New anti-cancer medication is currently being investigated in order to extend the range of cancers that can be treated with medication and to prevent cancer cells from becoming resistant to the medications currently available. A joint project of the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), part of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, and the Ukrainian National Iwan-Franko-University ended on 30 September 2015 after running for about two years.

Natural active agent Landomycin A

The scientists are focusing primarily on the natural active agent Landomycin A. This has various benefits compared to existing anti-tumour treatments - such as resistance to anthracyclines, the anti-tumour substances most frequently used in clinics. This is a sub-group of cytostatic antibiotics, which inhibit cell growth and cell division. This project is an important step in developing a new class of anti-cancer medications based on Landomycin A.

Access to pure Landomycin A is essential for developing this compound as a medication, because this is not available on the market. This project makes it possible to test the mode of action of Landomycin A.
In addition, some of this was also initiated to carry out pilot toxicity and therapeutic action tests on mice.

Special results and successes of the project

This project created the foundation to further investigate Landomycin A as a medication. It was possible to gain detailed insights into the effective mechanisms of Landomycin A. These data and technologies made it possible to create a transition from pre-clinical trials of Landomycin A as a potential anti-tumour medication. New data regarding the mode of action of Landomycin A and the cleansing process were obtained, and a new production process for Landomycin A was developed.

Figure of the cleansing process
Schematic presentation of the investigative process


Added value of the international cooperation

The work was jointly performed by researchers at the Institute for Cell Biology at the National Iwan-Franko-University in Lwiw and the University of Vienna. The improved Landomycin-A production will also be used in order to set up a laboratory prototype for the Landomycin A production process in the Ukraine – in collaboration with the Ukrainian National Technical University “Kiew Polytechnical Institute”.

The international cooperation benefited from the complimentary skills and knowledge of the project partners. The Ukrainian partner has exclusive knowledge of Landomycin biosynthesis, whereas the German partner contributes new tools for metabolic engineering and fermentation, cleansing as well as analytical skills. The expertise of the relevant partner institutes was utilised. Educating young scientists also played a key role in the cooperation.


Dr Thomas Reineke
DLR Project Management Agency| International Bureau
Tel: +49 228 3821 1448

Dr. Andriy Luzhetskyy
Tel: +49 681 302-70215