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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2008 Apr;20(2):242-8. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Feb 20.

Applications for ROCK kinase inhibition.

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  • 1Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Garscube Estate, Switchback Road, Glasgow G61 1BD, UK.


ROCK kinases, which play central roles in the organization of the actin cytoskeleton, are tantalizing targets for the treatment of human diseases. Deletion of ROCK I in mice revealed a role in the pathophysiological responses to high blood pressure, and validated ROCK inhibition for the treatment of specific types of cardiovascular disease. To date, the only ROCK inhibitor employed clinically in humans is fasudil, which has been used safely in Japan since 1995 for the treatment of cerebral vasospasm. Clinical trials, mostly focusing on the cardiovascular system, have uncovered beneficial effects of fasudil for additional indications. Intriguing recent findings also suggest significant potential for ROCK inhibitors in the production and implantation of stem cells for disease therapies.

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