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UCLA researchers discover new molecular pathway for targeting cancer, disease
Date:7/20/2009

ificance for the next stages of research finding a pharmaceutical drug or substance molecule to act as an agonist, which would stimulate LXR activity to inhibit aberrant Hh signaling.

"The hedgehog Hh signaling pathway is an important regulator of tumor formation, and these findings suggest that LXR agonists may be novel treatments for a wide variety of human cancers," Matsui said.

According to researchers, utilizing this new treatment pathway could have broad applications in the cancer field.

"This discovery identifies an entirely new and unexpected mechanism of hedgehog pathway modulation," said study author Dr. James A. Waschek, an expert on Hh signaling in brain tumor development and a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "This has great potential in offering other options, because current hedgehog pathway inhibitors have severe side effects which preclude their use in many cancer patients, especially children."

Waschek also noted that this discovery may reveal new details on how Hh signals within the cell, which is currently poorly understood.

The next stage of the research will focus on activating the LXR pathway using various pharmacological molecules to inhibit tumor formation. Matsui will be a collaborator in this follow-up research.

In addition, the team has started a medicinal chemistry program to design and test small molecules that activate the LXR pathway while avoiding the adverse effects that may be caused when LXR is activated in tissues such as the liver.


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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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