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Advances in drug screening: building a better haystack for the needles of tomorrow
Date:10/23/2007

SAN FRANCISCO With the discovery of suitable molecular targets cellular molecules along pathways crucial for sustaining the life of cancer cells comes the perplexing dilemma of where to find the next therapeutics that will bind to and disable those targets. While the possibilities for drug designs are near-limitless, the methods to screen drug databases and repositories are often problematic or ill-suited for the particular needs of researchers.

Today at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, researchers report new means of delving into vast stores of data in search of potential therapies, whether to find the next natural cancer fighter or to discover new classes of therapeutics.

Targeting neuroblastoma tumor-initiating cells: High-throughput screening strategies to identify novel chemotherapeutics: Abstract A 205.

While research has yielded exceptional advances in treatment and therapeutics for most adult cancers, there has been little improvement in survival rates for patients with the deadly childhood cancer neuroblastoma for the past 30 years. Armed with advances in stem cell knowledge, researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, are screening currently approved drugs for new neuroblastoma therapies that kill cancer while sparing children exposure to excessive amounts of toxic therapeutics.

Using their screening process, the researchers searched more than 5,000 drugs and uncovered 47 candidates that show good potential against neuroblastoma, including rapamycin, on which the researchers are currently focusing.

Neuroblastoma is particularly difficult to treat without aggressive chemotherapy and, even when treated successfully, the chemotherapies currently in use frequently have side effects that can have devastating repercussions later in life, said Kristen Smith, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at The Hospital for Sick Childre
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Contact: Greg Lester
greg.lester@aacr.org
267-646-0554
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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