Recent studies have revealed that cell competition can occur between normal and transformed epithelial cells; normal epithelial cells recognize the presence of the neighboring transformed cells and actively eliminate them from epithelial tissues. Here, we have established a brand-new high-throughput screening platform that targets cell competition. By using this platform, we have identified Rebeccamycin as a hit compound that specifically promotes elimination of RasV12-transformed cells from the epithelium, though after longer treatment it shows substantial cytotoxic effect against normal epithelial cells. Among several Rebeccamycin-derivative compounds, we have found that VC1-8 has least cytotoxicity against normal cells but shows the comparable effect on the elimination of transformed cells. This cell competition-promoting activity of VC1-8 is observed both in vitro and ex vivo. These data demonstrate that the cell competition-based screening is a promising tool for the establishment of a novel type of cancer preventive medicine.
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