Chemicals constitute richly informative probes, have high resolving potential and are able to uncover complex biological processes. Harnessing this potential provides an avenue for the discovery of new therapeutics that act via novel mechanisms. We focused these principles upon an intractable problem: cancer metastasis. We started with a chemical scaffold with broad bioactivity, with desirable drug-like properties and that would support synthetic diversification. Initially focusing upon human prostate cancer (PCa) we then coupled fragment-diversification and novel synthetic routes to upfront positive selection screens (inhibition of cell motility) and negative selection screens (cell toxicity) in an iterative fashion. We thereby efficiently synthesized a new class of bioactive compounds that inhibits systemic PCa metastasis at low nanomolar concentrations. Efficacy against other cancer types was demonstrated. Extensive investigations indicate high specificity and no toxicity. Target validation studies point to inhibition of protein-protein interaction motifs. Together, these studies support the notion that this approach is powerful, can be broadly applied across biological systems, and constitutes a paradigm. Specifically, they have led to the discovery of a novel acting drug that inhibits human cancer metastasis.

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference: Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics; 2011 Nov 12-16; San Francisco, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Mol Cancer Ther 2011;10(11 Suppl):Abstract nr C177.