Tapping TOPK

Although targeting proteins involved in cell division is falling out of fashion in cancer research because of the difficulty of distinguishing between diseased and normal cells, several companies are still exploring enzymes that could be tractable targets.A new inhibitor of TOPK-an enzyme involved in mitosis-could provide an option for cancers unserved by targeted therapies, based on findings in mice that liposomal delivery reduces the compound's toxicity, keeps it away from hematopoietic cells and increases its therapeutic index.1

The inhibitor was developed by Japanese biotech OncoTherapy Science Inc. in collaboration with researchers at The University of Chicago. The team is optimizing the formulation for use in solid tumors but is starting with a Phase I trial in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), in which the potential for hematopoietic toxicity would not pose a significant risk.

TOPK (PDZ binding kinase; PBK)-also known as T lymphocyte-activated killer cell-originated protein kinase-is involved in cytokinesis, the

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