Oooops. Crap. Now we might have a cancer cure

A serendipitous moment that was almost missed by the discoverer.

Her carefully cultured cells were dead and Katherine Schaefer was annoyed, but just a few minutes later, the researcher realized she had stumbled onto a potential new cancer treatment.

. . .

Schaefer was looking for drugs to treat the inflammation seen in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both of which cause pain and diarrhea.

She was testing a compound called a PPAR-gamma modulator. It would never normally have been thought of as a cancer drug, or in fact a drug of any kind.

“I made a calculation error and used a lot more than I should have. And my cells died,” Schaefer said.

A colleague overheard her complaining. “The co-author on my paper said,’ Did I hear you say you killed some cancer?’ I said ‘Oh’, and took a closer look.”

They ran several tests and found the compound killed ”pretty much every epithelial tumor cell lines we have seen,” Schaefer said. Epithelial cells line organs such as the colon, and also make up skin.

It also killed colon tumors in mice without making the mice sick, they reported in the journal International Cancer Research.

So, let’s see what further research and testing bring out of this.  The article makes it sound like something similar already exists and has limited success, but perhaps further research can make something good happen with this.  Since my father died from cancer, anything that decreases cancer lethality interests me. (via /.)

[tags]Potential cancer treatment found via serendipity[/tags]