Cancer's penicillin moment?
That's partly a reflection of the promising results this experimental new drug has been producing in early stage clinical trials - successfully shrinking tumours in patients suffering from malignant melanoma - but also because of the way the drug was developed.
PLX 4032 is one of the first in a new class of drugs specifically designed to target the abnormal molecular activity resulting from an individual genetic mutation - in this case the B-RAF gene, which is stuck in the "on" position in malignant melanoma.
Its chemical structure is described in a paper in the journal Nature, which outlines the drug's discovery, development and functioning.
We've known for some time that all cancers are the result of mutations in individual genes, but it's only been in the last few years that a phenomenal increase in the computational power of gene sequencing has allowed scientists to begin to sift the DNA code, comparing healthy and diseased cells and teasing out the subtle variations that give rise to cancer. That's given drug companies new targets for drug therapies like the mutated B-RAF gene in malignant melanoma, a previously incurable form of skin cancer.
"We really are at a remarkable moment," according to the Director of the Sanger Institute Professor Mike Stratton. "Modern sequencing techniques give us the potential to identify all of the genetic mutations that give rise to cancer. We've entered the end game in which we're going to complete our understanding of what causes cancer."
Of course getting to that end game is not the same thing as crossing the finishing line. Simply identifying all the genetic mutations that give rise to all the different types of cancer remains a colossal sequencing task, and even where that's achieved there's no guarantee that drug companies will be able to develop suitable treatments.
But the power of DNA sequencing does at least put us on a level playing field with cancer, and the hope, as one researcher put it, is that genomics may be about to deliver cancer's penicillin moment.