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Cancer Res. 2006 Sep 15;66(18):8935-42.

Small molecules, big players: the National Cancer Institute's Initiative for Chemical Genetics.

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Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


In 2002, the National Cancer Institute created the Initiative for Chemical Genetics (ICG), to enable public research using small molecules to accelerate the discovery of cancer-relevant small-molecule probes. The ICG is a public-access research facility consisting of a tightly integrated team of synthetic and analytical chemists, assay developers, high-throughput screening and automation engineers, computational scientists, and software developers. The ICG seeks to facilitate the cross-fertilization of synthetic chemistry and cancer biology by creating a research environment in which new scientific collaborations are possible. To date, the ICG has interacted with 76 biology laboratories from 39 institutions and more than a dozen organic synthetic chemistry laboratories around the country and in Canada. All chemistry and screening data are deposited into the ChemBank web site ( and are available to the entire research community within a year of generation. ChemBank is both a data repository and a data analysis environment, facilitating the exploration of chemical and biological information across many different assays and small molecules. This report outlines how the ICG functions, how researchers can take advantage of its screening, chemistry and informatic capabilities, and provides a brief summary of some of the many important research findings.

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