Wnt it rains

For the second time in as many months, a research group has found a new target in the Wnt pathway that could be more druggable than previously identified components of the cancer-inducing signaling cascade. Antagonizing the target, a kinase called TNIK, might be particularly useful in treating colon cancer, but its general expression patterns will have to be analyzed to evaluate the potential side effects of inhibiting it.

In most colon cancers, the Wnt pathway malfunctions via aberrant expression of b-catenin-the pathway's key transcription factor. However, most interactions between Wnt signaling molecules are protein-protein and thus are hard to block with small molecules.

In September, a group at Novartis AG's Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research identified two

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