The US National Cancer Institute (NCI) 60 human tumour cell line anticancer drug screen (NCI60) was developed in the late 1980s as an in vitro drug-discovery tool intended to supplant the use of transplantable animal tumours in anticancer drug screening. This screening model was rapidly recognized as a rich source of information about the mechanisms of growth inhibition and tumour-cell kill. Recently, its role has changed to that of a service screen supporting the cancer research community. Here I review the development, use and productivity of the screen, highlighting several outcomes that have contributed to advances in cancer chemotherapy.
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