A major problem with many cancer chemotherapeutic drugs is their lack of selectivity. They attack and kill not only the cancer target of interest, but in many cases also normal cells in tissues that are vital for cancer patient survival. Drugs that target cellular functions that are essential specifically for cancer cell survival should thus be of benefit to the cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy.Cancer cells have adapted numerous strategies to avoid apoptosis, or programmed cell death. The BCL-2 family contains anti-apoptotic and pro-apoptotic proteins. The anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family proteins have been linked to the survival of pathogenic cells that include cancer cells. RNA inhibition has been one approach to blocking anti-apoptotic BCL-2 and hence cancer cell survival. However, there is a question about the effectiveness of siRNA in long-term gene silencing. An alternative approach that has emerged to modulate, either positively or negatively, the activity of apoptotic signaling proteins is the use of stapled peptides.
Last date updated on June, 2014