Targeting apoptosis – developing drugs to inhibit Bcl-2 and Mcl-1

Andreas Strasser, MSc, PhD of the The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Parkville, Australia, talks about the development of new drugs for the inhibiton of various proteins that several cancers are dependent on. Prof. Strasser explains that there is one drug that has already been approved and is being used in certain countries for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). This cancer happens to be highly dependent on a protein called Bcl-2, which is a family of proteins responsible for regulating apoptosis. This drug only inhibits Bcl-2 and none of the other family members. More recently, other genetic studies have shown that many other cancers probably do not rely on Bcl-2 but are more reliant on one of its family members called Mcl-1 for their continued survival and growth. He explains that the challenge has been to make Mcl-1 inhibitors, which has proved to be very difficult. However, recently a new inhibitor has been developed for clinical trials.
Recorded at the 2016 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Conference in Liverpool, UK.

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