Milano, Italy
Milano, Italy

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PubMed | Fondazione IFOM
Type: Journal Article | Journal: European journal of cancer (Oxford, England : 1990) | Year: 2010

In recent years, cancer drug discovery has faced the challenging task of integrating the huge amount of information coming from the genomic studies with the need of developing highly selective target-based strategies within the context of tumour cells that experience massive genome instability. The combination between genetic and genomic technologies has been extremely useful and has contributed to efficiently transfer certain approaches typical of basic science to drug discover projects. An example comes from the synthetic lethal approaches, very powerful procedures that employ the rational used by geneticists working on model organisms. Applying the synthetic lethality (SL) screenings to anticancer therapy allows exploiting the typical features of tumour cells, such as genome instability, without changing them, as opposed to the conventional anticancer strategies that aim at counteracting the oncogenic signalling pathways. Recent and very encouraging clinical studies clearly show that certain promising anticancer compounds work through a synthetic lethal mechanism by targeting pathways that are specifically essential for the viability of cancer cells but not of normal cells. Herein we describe the rationale of the synthetic lethality approaches and the potential applications for anticancer therapy.

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