The new concept,translational medicine or personalized genomic medicine, include the use of genomic information to improve the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases such as cancer. However, the challenges are how to identify the best therapeutic targets and to how deliver the best medicine to treat individual patients. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult human cancers to treat due to lack of early detection and high resistance to conventional therapy. The overall survival rate is less than 5%, which has not improved over the last decade. Therefore, it is important to identify novel therapeutic targets in pancreatic cancer that could lead to more effective treatment for this malignant disease. Gene and genomic profiling studies have indicated that zinc transporter ZIP4 is overexpressed in human pancreatic cancer and regulates cancer cell growth, tumor progression and survival, which assigns a new and important role for ZIP4. Preclinical studies have shown that silencing of ZIP4 by shRNA significantly decreased tumor growth and increased the survival rate. Those results suggest that ZIP4 is a novel therapeutic target for human cancer, and holds great promise for ZIP4-based translational medicine. (Min Li, Translational medicine: Opportunities and challenges)
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Last date updated on June, 2014