Boston researchers have identified a molecule that kills tumors by taking the already high level of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells and upping it further. The molecule had efficacy in a wide range of mouse models of cancer,1 and the scientists have formed Canthera Therapeutics Inc. to develop drug-like analogs and identify genetic biomarkers for predicting patient response.
The discovery of the reactive oxygen species (ROS)-boosting molecule started unexpectedly with a cell-based screen for compounds that could modulate p53 activity.
p53 is a tumor suppressor protein that is inactivated in many cancers. To look for small molecules that could increase the activity of p53, a team led by Anna Mandinova, Sam Lee and Stuart Schreiber conducted a screen for compounds that could activate p53-dependent gene expression in cells. The top