CANCER

Serendipity rules in cancer therapy

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Science  30 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6187, pp. 985
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6187.985-e

While testing cancer drugs in a mouse model of a deadly blood cancer, multiple myeloma, Shortt et al. made a startling discovery: On its own, an inert solvent commonly used as a drug delivery vehicle can halt the cancer's growth. The researchers noticed that control mice treated with N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) survived longer than control mice treated with other drug delivery vehicles. Further analyses of NMP in cultured cells and live mice confirmed the solvent's antimyeloma activity. NMP shares certain mechanistic similarities with other promising drug candidates for myeloma that were discovered in more traditional ways. Plans for phase 1 clinical trials are under way.

Cell Rep. 7, 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.04.008 (2014).

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