Drug discovered by scientists in the McDonnell laboratory approved by the FDA for use in patients with metastatic breast cancer

In 1996, while working in the laboratory of Donald McDonnell as graduate students, John Norris and Caroline Connor came up with the novel idea of developing drugs that induced such a dramatic conformational change in the estrogen receptor that the cell recognized it as denatured and disposed of it. They found that drugs that accomplished this activity were very effective inhibitors of the growth of breast tumors in animals. They later discovered the first oral Selective Estrogen Receptor Degrader (SERD), Etacstil, and the drug was found to exhibit efficacy in patients with advanced breast cancer. Nearly 20 years later, Drs. Suzanne Wardell and Erik Nelson discovered a new SERD, Elacestrant, that was approved today by the FDA for use in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. This is an amazing bench to bedside story and the culmination of 30 years work in the McDonnell laboratory.

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