NCI-60 Cell Line Screening: A Radical Departure in Its Time

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The year 2015 marked the 30th anniversary of National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) initial effort to establish a human cell line panel as the basis for discovering new cancer drugs. At its inception, the NCI-60 panel was a controversial departure, born of frustration with previous efforts that employed murine tumors and grounded in the hope that the biology of human tumors was diverse and somehow quite different than the murine leukemia used for the previous 30 years. And while the NCI-60 has not revolutionized cancer drug discovery in terms of the new drugs that resulted, it represents a turning point in the philosophy and practice of cancer drug research.

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