February 05, 2007

Well, the headline is a bit overwrought...

Lab disaster may lead to new cancer drug

...but the article is just another example of how many things we take for granted come about either by accident or when scientists are searching for something else.

In this case, the researcher was looking for a treatment for Crohn's and colitis and was using cancer cells as the target. Due to a mistaken dosage of a compound called PPAR-gamma modulator, she wound up killing her test cells.

Setbacks like this aren't that uncommon in a lab--you mess up a culture or drop something and have to start your work over. It's frustrating, but not really a disaster like, say, an explosion. But it'll still make you angry, until you have that "aha" moment when it finally occurs to you that you found something that kills cancer cells.

Nifty article.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at February 5, 2007 02:06 PM