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Sutton, United Kingdom

Smith J.R.,The Institute of Cancer Research | Moreno L.,The Institute of Cancer Research | Moreno L.,Childrens and Young Peoples Unit | Moreno L.,Spanish National Cancer Research Center | And 7 more authors.
Molecular Oncology | Year: 2015

There is an urgent need for improved therapies for children with high-risk neuroblastoma where survival rates remain low. MYCN amplification is the most common genomic change associated with aggressive neuroblastoma and drugs targeting PI3K/AKT/mTOR, to activate MYCN oncoprotein degradation, are entering clinical evaluation. Our aim was to develop and validate pharmacodynamic (PD) biomarkers to evaluate both proof of mechanism and proof of concept for drugs that block PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway activity in children with neuroblastoma. We have addressed the issue of limited access to tumor biopsies for quantitative detection of protein biomarkers by optimizing a three-color fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) method to purify CD45-/GD2+/CD56+ neuroblastoma cells from bone marrow. We then developed a novel quantitative measurement of MYCN protein in these isolated neuroblastoma cells, providing the potential to demonstrate proof of concept for drugs that inhibit PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling in this disease. In addition we have established quantitative detection of three biomarkers for AKT pathway activity (phosphorylated and total AKT, GSK3β and P70S6K) in surrogate platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from pediatric patients. Together our new approach to neuroblastoma cell isolation for protein detection and suite of PD assays provides for the first time the opportunity for robust, quantitative measurement of protein-based PD biomarkers in this pediatric patient population. These will be ideal tools to support clinical evaluation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway drugs and their ability to target MYCN oncoprotein in upcoming clinical trials in neuroblastoma. © 2015 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Barone G.,Institute of Cancer Research | Barone G.,Childrens and Young Peoples Unit | Anderson J.,Institute of Child Health | Pearson A.D.J.,Institute of Cancer Research | And 4 more authors.
Clinical Cancer Research | Year: 2013

Clinical outcome remains poor in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, in which chemoresistant relapse is common following high-intensity conventional multimodal therapy. Novel treatment approaches are required. Although recent genomic profiling initiatives have not revealed a high frequency of mutations in any significant number of therapeutically targeted genes, two exceptions, amplification of the MYCN oncogene and somatically acquired tyrosine kinase domain point mutations in anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), present exciting possibilities for targeted therapy. In contrast with the situation with ALK, in which a robust pipeline of pharmacologic agents is available from early clinical use in adult malignancy, therapeutic targeting of MYCN (and MYC oncoproteins in general) represents a significant medicinal chemistry challenge that has remained unsolved for two decades. We review the latest approaches envisioned for blockade of ALK activity in neuroblastoma, present a classification of potential approaches for therapeutic targeting of MYCN, and discuss how recent developments in targeting of MYC proteins seem to make therapeutic inhibition of MYCN a reality in the clinic. © 2013 American Association for Cancer Research.

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