Cancer: Forward Approach Reveals New Cancer Drug
A high-throughput method used by UHN researchers led by Drs. Fei-Fei Liu and Aaron Schimmer has identified a potential new anti-cancer compound.
Using robotic technology, the team was able to screen 2400 compounds from two compound libraries and assess their effects on human cancer cells. The new compound, benzethonium chloride, killed nearly 70% of cancer cells but less than 1% of normal cells. It prevented tumours from forming when injected into an animal model, and it added to the anti-tumour effects of radiation and chemotherapy. This novel anti-cancer agent appears have an effect for head and neck, lung, and colon cancer cells.
"This screening method is an example of the 'forward chemical biology approach,' which means that we screened hundreds of compounds looking for novel agents, which produced the desired effect - in this case, cancer cell death. Ours is the first report of benzethonium chloride