[MOL] Scientists identify new target for cancer therapies [01641] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Scientists identify new target for cancer therapies

Scientists identify new target for cancer therapies
    [06/29/99; Reuters News Service]

NEW YORK, Jun 28 (Reuters Health) -- A drug that interrupts 
the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells reduced colon
tumor development by up to 80% when tested in mice, report US
researchers. The compound, called PD 184352, ``blocked the growth
of colon tumors implanted into mice without otherwise affecting
the mice,'' said study lead author Dr. Judith Sebolt-Leopold,
an investigator at Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research in Ann
Arbor, Michigan. The findings are published in the July issue
of the journal Nature Medicine. PD 184352 belong to a family of
chemicals called 'MEK inhibitors.' In an interview with Reuters
Health, Sebolt-Leopold described MEK1 as an enzyme important
to the 'pathway' of chemical signaling that drives uncontrolled
growth, a characteristic feature of cancer cells. For years,
she noted, scientists involved in the fight against cancer ``have
been trying to selectively interfere with this pathway to specifically
block the ability of tumor cells to grow.''Her team of researchers
suspected that PD 184352 might block MEK1 activity, 'short-circuiting'
the mechanisms behind uncontrolled cell growth. 

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