IMAGE: Scientists hope to identify cancer drugs that work in a two-pronged approach — by inducing errors when cancer cells divide packages of their DNA — known as chromosomes — as… view more
Credit: Mar Carmena and Emma Peat
A new way of identifying potential cancer drugs could streamline the development of therapies, following a discovery by scientists.
Researchers have devised a way to screen potential drug compounds to select those that interfere with tumour cells in two ways.
Their study seeks to build on an existing approach of identifying drugs that target an essential protein in cancer cells, known as telomerase.
Scientists hope to identify drugs that not only inhibit this protein but also induce errors when cancer cells divide packages of their DNA – known as chromosomes – to form new cells.
An attack on two fronts could prevent cancerous cells from growing, and therefore kill tumours.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh, the Institute Curie in Paris, the National Cancer Institute of the US and the Kazusa DNA Institute of Japan tested drug compounds using artificial human chromosomes with in-built fluorescent markers.
This allowed the team to easily detect when and how often drug treatment caused