Research Snapshot: UF Scripps team develops method to study lung cancer models using natural products

A team of researchers at The Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology has developed a method for using natural products to screen lung cancer cells for possible new therapeutic targets.

(L-R): Timothy Spicer, Ph.D., Ben Shen, Ph.D., and Louis Scampavia, Ph.D.

The researchers accessed the Natural Products Discovery Center at UF Scripps to develop an effective and cost-efficient method for 3D screening of lung cancer spheroids. The study was published recently in the journal SLAS Discovery.

The Natural Products Discovery Center contains more than 125,000 specimens that offer an invaluable resource for developing potentially life-saving drugs. More than one-third of all FDA-approved drugs in use today have come from or inspired by natural products.

In the new study, the team assessed how about 1,280 selected members, including purified natural products, partially purified fractions and crude extracts, of the Natural Products Library performed against 10 non-small cell lung cancer cell lines. The team described the methods needed for automated 3D screening using these microbial natural products.

The protocol could pave the way for developing therapeutics targeting cancer in humans. The exciting new format of screening for natural products effects on cancer in 3D is both fast and cost effective, all while allowing researchers to work with more physiologically relevant models of lung cancer disease, the UF Scripps team said.

Coauthors on the study from the UF Health Cancer Center are Ben Shen, Ph.D., a professor and director of the Natural Products Discovery Center at UF Scripps, and Timothy Spicer, Ph.D., and Louis Scampavia, Ph.D., both research professors and senior scientific directors at UF Scripps. Shen and Spicer are members of the Cancer Center’s Cancer Therapeutics & Host Response research program.

Read the study in SLAS Discovery.

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