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Nat Rev Cancer. 2016 Feb;16(2):99-109. doi: 10.1038/nrc.2015.17.

Thirty years of BCL-2: translating cell death discoveries into novel cancer therapies.

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Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the Department of Medical Biology, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


The 'hallmarks of cancer' are generally accepted as a set of genetic and epigenetic alterations that a normal cell must accrue to transform into a fully malignant cancer. It follows that therapies designed to counter these alterations might be effective as anti-cancer strategies. Over the past 30 years, research on the BCL-2-regulated apoptotic pathway has led to the development of small-molecule compounds, known as 'BH3-mimetics', that bind to pro-survival BCL-2 proteins to directly activate apoptosis of malignant cells. This Timeline article focuses on the discovery and study of BCL-2, the wider BCL-2 protein family and, specifically, its roles in cancer development and therapy.

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