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Cancer Cell. 2005 Jul;8(1):5-6.

Killing cancer cells by flipping the Bcl-2/Bax switch.

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The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, 1G Royal Parade, Parkville, Victoria 3050, Australia.


Impairment of apoptosis, the physiologic cell death process, is central to cancer development and renders tumors refractory to cytotoxic therapy. Bcl-2, the oncoprotein activated in follicular lymphoma, inhibits the conserved cell death pathway triggered by diverse cytotoxic agents, as do several close relatives. A small-molecule antagonist of these proteins has now been designed by Oltersdorf et al. Strikingly, ABT-737 sensitizes many tumors to cytotoxic agents and is effective as a single agent against certain lymphomas and solid tumors, provoking stable regression in some tumor xenografts. Hence, this work validates Bcl-2-like proteins as important new targets in cancer therapy.

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