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We have designed and synthesized novel molecules capable of selectively killing tumor cells that aberrantly express steroid hormone receptors. Many human breast cancers express high levels of the estrogen receptor (ER), and most prostate cancers express the androgen receptor (AR). We reasoned that the potential genotoxic effect of DNA adducts would be increased in target cells if these adducts were camouflaged by their association with receptor proteins. This association could shield the DNA adducts from repair proteins and thus increase the toxicity towards a tumor cell. Furthermore, these hormone receptors are transcription factors and an interaction between the protein and the DNA adduct could disrupt cellular signaling events, thus leading to further toxicity. We have synthesized bifunctional agents that contain an aniline mustard ...
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