This week in therapeutics




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Gastrointestinal cancer

Stem cell factor receptor tyrosine kinase (c-Kit; KIT; CD117)

In vitro and mouse studies suggest an anti-KIT mAb could help treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs). In Gleevec imatinib-resistant GIST cell lines, a mAb targeting KIT increased macrophage-mediated cancer cell phagocytosis and slowed growth compared with IgG. In mice bearing GIST xenografts, the anti-KIT mAb decreased tumor growth compared with IgG control. Next steps could include testing the antibodies in additional animal models.
Novartis AG's BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitor Gleevec is marketed to treat multiple cancers including GIST.
At least five companies have KIT inhibitors in preclinical and clinical testing to treat cancers.

SciBX 6(7); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.159
Published online Feb. 21, 2013

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Edris, B. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online Feb. 4, 2013;
Contact: Matt van de Rijn, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.
Contact: Irving L. Weissman,
same affiliation as above