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New Path Found For Colon Cancer Drug Discovery

Posted Nov 20 2010 4:05pm

An old pinworm medicine is a new lead in the search for compounds that block a signaling pathway implicated in colon cancer.

The findings, reported by Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers in the November issue of Nature Chemical Biology, suggest a fresh approach for developing therapeutics that target the pathway.

More than 90 percent of sporadic (non-inherited) colon cancers — the second deadliest type of cancer in the developed world — are caused by mutations that result in inappropriate activation of the Wnt (pronounced “wint”) signaling pathway. Blocking this pathway has been a desirable therapeutic target, but its complexity has made it difficult to determine which molecular participants to inhibit.

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