Project period: September 2018 – April 2019 

This community previously received Initiator Funding for the project: GW4 Cancer Research Consortium

GW4 community leads 
University of Bath: Lorenzo Caggiano (PI) and Julien Licchesi 
University of Bristol: Kathreena Kurian 
Cardiff University: Chris Marshall & Stephen Paisey 
University of Exeter: Jacqueline Whatmore 

Project overview 
From Daffodils to Drugs – this community will be investigating synthetic analogues of compounds found in daffodil bulbs to treat brain tumours. 



In our lifetime, more than 1 in 3 of us will develop cancer of some sort. Fortunately, due to great advances in drug discovery, many of these cases can now be treated. The fight against cancer, however, is not over as many cancers, such as pancreatic, prostate and brain, remain difficult to treat. Furthermore, drug resistance and unwanted side-effects means there is a constant need to develop new drugs. Our research is focused on biologically active compounds found in nature, in particular narciclasine and pancratistatin obtained from the daffodil (narcissus), which exhibit potent and selective anticancer activity against a variety of cancers including the most aggressive form of brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme. This is a critical area since only 10% of patients with Glioblastoma are alive 5 years after diagnosis.  

Project summary 

The GW4-BCR team brings together essential skills and expertise in complementary disciplines to chemically synthesise and investigate the biological activity of our analogues and identify key features which are necessary for potent anticancer activity. Our aim is to identify a readily accessible lead compound that displays promising activity which would provide leverage for further funding to explore development and potential routes to the clinic. 

Community site (GW4 Portal)