Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Sury Jha

Reader 2

Diane Thomson


Vinca alkaloids are a subset of drugs naturally extracted from the Madagascar periwinkle plant (Scientific name: Catharanthus roseus) (Moudi, 2013). The most commonly used vinca alkaloids in the recently conducted clinical trials are vinblastine, vincristine, vinorelbine, and vinflunine (Zhang, 2017). Vinca alkaloids function by binding to tubulin forming dimers and inhibiting the assembly of microtubule structures which are essential for organization of the cytoskeleton of the cell (Perez, 2009). This makes them potent agents to induce apoptosis in tumor cells and treat cancerous growth. Cancer continues to impact millions of people’s lives – those who are directly impacted by cancer itself or the ones who have close family members and friends who suffer from the disease. One in three cancer patients develop mental/emotional distress, 25% of cancer survivors experience depression, and 45% of survivors experience anxiety (National Behavioral Health Network). This thesis reviews the importance of current and ongoing research on the efficacy of the Vinca alkaloids, because new therapies and treatments have the ability to increase the quality and happiness of many people’s lives in society today. Additionally, my thesis proposes future research avenues and clinical trials that will be crucial to create more effective treatments using vinca alkaloids for cancer and other common diseases.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.