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Small molecules inhibit growth of human tumor cells
Date:4/13/2011

Researchers from the Cancer Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center have identified three novel small molecules that interrupt a crucial cellular communication pathway that regulates many aspects of development and cancer. The finding, published in the April 12, 2011 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and featured on its cover, could provide the basis for innovative therapies for colorectal cancer and other diseases associated with aberrations in this pathway.

"Our study demonstrates that the three newly identified compounds are capable of blocking cell proliferation in cancerous human tumor biopsy cells," said Ramanuj DasGupta, PhD, assistant professor of Pharmacology at NYU School of Medicine and the NYU Cancer Institute, and the scientific director of the NYU RNAi Core Screening Facility.

Dr. DasGupta and his colleagues identified the molecules as inhibitors of the Wnt signaling pathway. This pathway is of special interest to scientists because it controls many biological processes by promoting cell-to-cell communication. Many previous studies have shown that cancers in the liver, breast, skin, and especially the colon, are associated with abnormal signaling activity in this pathway. However, it has been difficult to find potential therapeutic agents aimed at the Wnt pathway.

"These molecules hold a lot of promise towards future Wnt-based drug development for cancer treatments," says Dr. DasGupta. "They may allow the compounds to be used for specific therapeutic purposes in humans to induce the death of Wnt-dependent or Wnt addicted cancer cells and tumor tissues without affecting the growth and proliferation of normal healthy cells."

The scientists demonstrated that the molecules suppressed the activity of the Wnt signaling pathwaywithout disrupting other cellular functionsin human colon cancers from biopsies, in colon cancer cell lines, and in a mouse tumor-xenograft model. In all ins
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Contact: Lauren Woods
lauren.woods@nyumc.org
212-404-3753
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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