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Medical News and Perspectives
April 20, 2005

Cell Division On-Off Switches Sought as Targets for Cancer Drugs

JAMA. 2005;293(15):1847. doi:10.1001/jama.293.15.1847

San Diego—A variety of changes in a person’s DNA can alter cell growth and differentiation and lead to cancer. So it’s not surprising that many scientists are looking for such mutations, hoping that drugs might be developed to target the specific proteins encoded by them.

The rationale for such targeted therapies is that they might be more effective and better tolerated than conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy. But the key is to identify and treat the subsets of patients “whose cancer actually contains the mutated target because that mutation is driving the growth of their cancer cells,” said Matthew Meyerson, MD, PhD, at a recent conference of the American Association for Cancer Research entitled “Molecular Pathogenesis of Lung Cancer: Opportunities for Translation to the Clinic.”

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