DNA is the presumed target for a number of clinically useful anticancer drugs. In this review, Laurence Hurley and Leslie Boyd discuss the appropriateness of the term 'receptor' for DNA and outline the forseeable problems in designing drugs that will produce a defined pharmacological response through interaction with DNA. They describe the structural features which present DNA as an attractive target for drug design, and the possible characteristics of drugs that react with DNA to produce a predetermined biochemical response. Finally, they outline modern approaches to elucidating the structural and biological consequences of drug modification.
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