Combining natural organic atoms with metal complexes, scientists at The Wistar Institute have developed a new type of enzyme inhibitor capable of blocking a biochemical pathway that plays a key role in cancer development. Based on studies in human melanoma cells, the research paves the way for developing new ways to treat cancer by dampening the overactive enzyme activity that leads to uncontrolled tumor growth, reports Dr. Ronen Marmorstein, senior author of the study, which was published in the May 16 issue of ACS Chemical Biology.
In this GEN podcast, Dr. Marmorstein provides specific details about the inhibitor and points out the factors that make it such a novel compound. He also explains why the research team decided to target phosphatidyl-inositol-3 kinase PI3K signaling proteins and why the new enzyme inhibitor was tested in human melanoma cell cultures.
One problem with a number of current drugs that target lipid kinases is that these compounds often lack specificity. Dr. Marmorstein talks about how the researchers addressed this issue and about the role of X-ray crystallography in the study.