New cancer target?

Recently, researchers at Eli Lilly

Randall C Willis
INDIANAPOLIS—Recently, researchers at Eli Lilly and Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) announced they may have found a novel cancer-linked mutation in a gene thought to act merely as an intermediary in known oncogenic pathways. Based on the location of the mutation, the researchers suggest it may play a role in cells being resistant to specific types of cancer therapies.
 
As they describe in Nature, the researchers analyzed sequences from 150 tumor samples from patients with ovarian, breast, or colorectal cancer and found that some of the samples carried a previously unidentified mutation in the AKT1 gene. In particular, the mutation occurs in the binding pocket of the resulting protein's pleckstrin-homology domain, which interacts with cell membrane phospholipids.
 
"This discovery adds to the short but growing list of molecular features that may help guide both current and future cancer drug development," says Dr. John Carpten, director of TGen's Integrated Cancer Genomics Division. "The next step is to determine the prevalence of the AKT1 mutation in different populations and hopefully use the information gained to stratify patients going into clinical trials for AKT inhibitors."

Randall C Willis

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