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Apoptosis Offers New Dimension to Cancer Therapeutics and Prospects for Commercial Benefits.

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Extensive cancer research reveals more than 90 percent of cancers occur due to genetic mutations. The complexity of molecular pathways indicates that cellular networks greatly coordinate and interconnect. This, in turn, essentially means that the non-functioning of any specific component in the cell proliferation pathway could result in several anomalies that could manifest as different cancers.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (, Advances in Apoptosis Research, finds that the apoptosis procedure is influenced by various pro- and antiapoptotic proteins, which, in turn, are controlled at multiple molecular levels. A thorough study of apoptosis mechanisms offers exciting insights into therapeutic strategies for combating life-threatening diseases.

There is rising academic interest in apoptosis due to biologists' need to understand the mechanism of cell number regulation and, therefore, the maintenance of homeostasis in living systems. Proteins such as cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases are the central regulators of the cell cycle.

The over expression of inhibitory proteins in cancer cells suppresses the activation of the apoptotic pathway, which usually gets stimulated under abnormal situations. Because of this, scientists have developed counter remedies to inhibitors of apoptosis (IAPs) for key components in the cell cycle pathway. This could catalyze the creation of a natural cure for cancer without killing normal cells.

Scientists are also considering antisense therapy that targets IAPs and helps activate the apoptotic pathway. Although very little has been done toward its commercialization, research has demonstrated its tremendous potential in cancer therapy.

Current developments in cancer therapy base themselves on the deliberate and specific induction of apoptosis in cancer cells. New anti-cancer approaches focus on the therapeutic potential of physiological pro-apoptotic proteins such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and galectin-1.

"Many apoptosis-based drugs in development could help obtain exciting potent drugs to modulate/inhibit apoptosis through the use of the tools of structural biology and combinatorial chemistry," notes Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights Research Analyst Prasanna Vadhana Kannan. "However, most of the molecules being designed as novel drugs are still in the pre-clinical state and the chief factors responsible for this condition are lack of specificity, low efficacy, and multiple drug resistance development."

Therefore, it is evident that the enhanced conception of the numerous mechanisms of apoptosis targets can improve clinical outcomes for a broad range of illnesses.

An estimation of more than 80 companies will take part in the research and development of apoptosis-based drugs. So far, most pharmaceutical companies had concentrated on chemotherapy drugs due to researchers' focus on cell division. However, abundant research on apoptosis and cell number regulation has opened up opportunities for apoptosis-based therapies.

The sparse population of the apoptosis drug market and the redundancy of apoptosis pathway proteins in other networks applications enable drug companies to develop assays and create natural means of targeting diseases such as cancer. Recognizing the potential of the market, several companies have surfaced, and this bodes well for the development of cancer therapies. Increased awareness about apoptosis regulatory proteins and their functioning in cell death pathways will also facilitate the design of innovative cancer therapies.

"Molecular targeting adoptive approaches such as recombinant biologicals in the form of death ligands, agonistic, and antagonistic antibodies, which either inhibit or trigger death receptor signaling, have shown significant results in animal models," observes Kannan. "Soon, many small molecule anti-cancer compounds will be evaluated in human clinical trials for the treatment of advanced cancers."

Realization that the industry cannot treat cancer with a single drug, and that it requires combinatorial drugs, is a significant driver for the advances in apoptosis research development. Cancer is a multi-factorial disease, caused by environmental, genetic and physiological agents.

"The explosion of genetic information and the discovery of novel interactions in the cancer and neurodegenerative pathways have revealed that more than one gene and multitudes of proteins interact to cause a disease," notes Subramanian. "However, the central challenge is to work out a scientifically and medically economic model that will enable clinicians to diagnose and treat these diseases at a much faster rate than currently possible."

Advances in Apoptosis Research, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides a technology overview and outlook for the research and development of apoptosis-based drug development. The study covers the industrial sector (apoptosis-based drugs development) and medical sector (apoptosis-based therapeutic platform). Further, it includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.

If you are interested in an analysis, which provides manufacturers, end users, and other industry participants with an overview, summary, challenges, and latest coverage of advances in apoptosis research, send an e-mail to Johanna Haynes, Corporate Communications, at with the following information: your full name, company name, title, company telephone number, company e-mail address, city, state, and country. We will send you the information via e-mail upon receipt of the above information. All media inquiries please reply directly to

Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and research services.

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, partners with clients to accelerate their growth. The company's Team Research, Growth Consulting and Growth Team Membership empower clients to create a growth-focused culture that generates, evaluates and implements effective growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan employs over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 30 offices on six continents. For more information about Frost & Sullivan's Growth Partnerships, visit

Advances in Apoptosis Research

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 10, 2008
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