Bioscience

New leads for cancer drugs

September 28, 2007

By Flinn Foundation

Tumor cells don’t play by the rules that other cells have to follow. They grow and multiply unchecked because the mechanisms that regulate cell growth and program cell death have been turned off, making the renegade cells immortal. Cancer researchers are focusing on the role of particular enzymes involved in this biochemical malfunction to find new ways to halt or kill malignant tumors. Generally, enzymes play a key role in the signaling pathways of individual plant and animal cells.

Scientists at the University of Arizona have identified a new series of compounds that can halt the action of a specific enzyme called protein kinase B, also known as Akt, in cancer tumor cells. Their findings have been patented and will soon reach the clinical testing phase for the treatment of patients afflicted with cancer. The research is funded by the National Institute of Health and the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission.

[Note: Contact Emmanuelle Meuillet at emeuillet@azcc.arizona.edu. To learn more, visit http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/general/resrpt2006/article8_2006.pdf.]