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In 1970 art article was published in the Journal of Antibiotics in which the isolation of a substance from the south African soil microorganism Streptomyces griseolutus designated 593A (NSC-135758) was reported. It was reported to inhibit the growth of human tumors in the chick embryo. Arison and Beck in 1973 proposed the structure to be 3,6-bis-(5-chloro-2 -piperidyl-)-2 ,5-piperizinedione based on spectral data.

In the ensuing years a number of further studies were made on the activity of 593A, It was found to be active against a number of solid tumors, several variants of leukemia, and in selectively inhibiting DNA synthesis. A possible mode of operation was suggested in which the Antibiotic would form a bis-aziridine derivative which acts as an alkylating agent.