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Rare byproduct of marine bacteria kills cancer cells by snipping their DNA

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Yale University researchers have determined how a scarce molecule produced by marine bacteria can kill cancer cells, paving the way for the development of new, low-dose chemotherapies.

The molecule, lomaiviticin A, was previously shown to be lethal to cultured human cancer cells, but the mechanism of its operation remained unsolved for well over a decade. In a series of experiments, Yale scientists Seth Herzon, Peter Glazer, and colleagues show that the molecule nicks, cleaves, and ultimately destroys cancer cells’ DNA, preventing replication.

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