Scientists have developed a new drug that blocks a transcription factor -- previously thought to be un-blockable -- that has been causally linked to leukemia and several other cancers of the lungs, ovaries, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract, they report in linkurl:Nature; this week.
Bone marrow smear showing acute
lymphoblastic leukemia

Image: Furfur, Wikimedia Commons
The Notch transcription factor regulates cell-cell communication in the Notch signaling pathway, a system governing cell growth and development. Mutations in the transcription factor can result in uncontrolled cell growth, often causing cells to turn cancerous. But transcription factors are notoriously hard for medicinal chemists to target because they work by forming complexes with multiple proteins, leaving no open binding sites for small molecules to fit into. "It's exciting research," said linkurl:Andrew Weng,; a molecular biologist at the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Canada, who was not involved in the study. "A lot of...

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