PerspectiveCELL CYCLE

New Tools for the Antimitotic Toolbox

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Science  29 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5441, pp. 913-914
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5441.913

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Summary

One of the drawbacks of the slew of anti-mitotic drugs that are used to treat cancer is that they all target the assembly or disassembly of tubulin, the molecular building block of microtubules. By disrupting the polymerization of tubulin into microtubules, which are the essential components of the mitotic spindle without which mitosis cannot proceed, these drugs are able to inhibit the cell cycle. In a Perspective, Duane Compton discusses a new screening method that identifies anti-mitotic drugs that target components of the spindle other than tubulin. These compounds should prove valuable both in elucidating the different steps in spindle assembly and as the basis of a new class of anticancer agents.