A small molecule that blocks the activity of a signalling pathway implicated in many cancers is revealed in Nature. The study, by Feng Cong and colleagues, provides new insights into how the Wnt pathway operates, as well as the development of Wnt-targeted cancer drugs.
The drug, called XAV939, disrupts Wnt pathway signalling, and its target and mechanism of action are described. The Wnt pathway is well known for its roles in embryonic development and adult physiology, and abnormal Wnt activity has been implicated in many cancers. But the scarcity of 'druggable' targets in the pathway has hampered the development of Wnt-blocking therapies. The discovery of this low molecular mass Wnt inhibitor opens the door for a new way to combat cancer.
Feng Cong (Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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