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NIH Tools Help Researchers Match Cancer Drugs With Gene Targets

The newly updated software, called CellMiner, was built for use with the NCI-60, one of the most widely used collections of cancer-cell samples employed in the testing of potential anticancer drugs. The tools, available for free, provide rapid access to data from 22,379 genes catalogued in the NCI-60 and from 20,503 previously analyzed chemical compounds, including 102 FDA-approved drugs.

The new study, written by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, was published in the July 16 issue of Cancer Research.

Researchers looking at a particular drug can use the tools to access data from previous experiments done on that drug and can analyze how the drug relates to other drugs and various gene profiles. As a case example for the new study, the researchers compared drug activity levels and gene expression patterns from previous research to identify the investigational compound NSC732298, which is not currently being studied for colon cancer but which could be a potential therapy for that disease, based on a CellMiner gene-drug match. In the same exercise, the researchers were able to ascertain that a second investigational drug that is being tested for colon cancer, selumetinib, may also be effective against melanoma.

This work was supported by the NCI's Center for Cancer Research and Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis.

For more information visit the NIH Web site.

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