A new compound, SP-4-84, now in the earliest stages of development, may enhance chemotherapy treatments by making the medications more effective while also reducing their side effects.

Michigan State University researchers, who developed SP-4-84, discovered that when the compound is added to certain anti-cancer drugs, it inhibits the ability of cancer cells to survive treatment.

The majority of anti-cancer medications critically damage cancer cells and they die. However, sometimes these damaged cells survive and repair themselves.

SP-4-84 prevents the cancer cells from being able to repair the damage caused by anticancer drugs.

"This may potentially mean that one could use less than one-tenth of the current [chemotherapy] drug dosage and still get the same therapeutic results-but fewer side effects-or use the same drug dosage, which is now much more effective in its treatment," explains research leader Jetze Tepe, an assistant professor of chemistry.

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