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New Compounds Trigger Cancer Cell Suicide

Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)


Posted on: 06/11/2003

New Compounds Trigger Cancer Cell Suicide

Tue Jun 10,10:44 AM ET

By Martin F. Downs

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Scientists believe they have found a new way to get tumor cells to self-destruct, a discovery that may eventually lead to better drugs to fight cancer. Dr. James A. Wells and Jack T. Nguyen, researchers at Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in South San Francisco, California, found two synthetic compounds that triggered programed cell death, or apoptosis, in cancer cells.

... "We took a cell, a whole cell, and we basically punctured the membrane, and then we took the goo out of the cell, and then we screened the goo against the small-molecule library," he said.

The small-molecule library was a set of roughly 3,500 compounds. Two of the compounds triggered apoptosis, according to a report in the online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (news - web sites).

The researchers knew they had found what they were looking for when they detected an enzyme called caspase-3. ...

The other compound wasn't as potent in whole cells, although it was potent in the other tests. The researchers speculate that it had difficulty passing through the cell membrane.

... SOURCE: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

2003;10.1073/pnas.1031631100. 0610/hl_nm/compound_suicide_dc

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