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p21 Protein
(Cdc42 Rac)-activated kinase 1

In vitro and mouse studies suggest inhibiting PAK1 could help treat K-Ras-driven tumors. In human squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) samples, high levels of PAK1 were associated with advanced disease. In a transgenic mouse model of mutant K-Ras-driven SCC, Pak1 knockout delayed tumor growth and decreased progression compared with normal Pak1 expression. In mice with established mutant K-Ras-driven SCC tumors, Pak1 inhibitors led to greater tumor regression than vehicle control. Next steps include clinical testing of PAK1 inhibitors.
Afraxis Inc. has a PAK inhibitor in the discovery stage to treat CNS disorders.

SciBX 5(39); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.1026
Published online Oct. 4, 2012

Findings unpatented; Pak1 knockout mice available for licensing 

Chow, H.Y. et al. Cancer. Res.; published online Sept. 14, 2012;
Contact: Jonathan Chernoff, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pa.