It's time to move beyond the traditional "magic bullet" approach for discovering new drugs and start leveraging the full complexity of Mother Nature, according to Vanderbilt Professor of Chemistry Brian Bachmann and Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology Jonathan Irish. The researchers have developed a new process that can rapidly and inexpensively identify personalized cancer drugs derived from nature. They describe their new approach and report how it works on acute myeloid leukemia in a paper published Jan. This has had some successes, but it also has a lot of limitations," said Bachmann, whose research focuses on searching for novel drugs produced by bacteria found in caves, and studying how these drugs are synthesized. Many diseases, including many cancers, consist of cells that possess multiple mutations and redundancies that allow them to compensate for a drug hitting a single target. And the artificial cell lines that researchers often use, like the HeLa cancer cells isolated from Henrietta Lacks in , do not always behave and respond like naturally occurring—or "wild"—cancer cells found in a patient.
Magic bullet (medicine)
Looking beyond the 'magic bullet' approach to drug discovery
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