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Researchers identify genetic mutation that may alter tumor cell proliferation

beginning to change drug development efforts. This discovery adds to the short but growing list of molecular features that may help guide both current and future cancer drug development, said John Carpten, PhD, Senior Investigator and Director of TGens Integrated Cancer Genomics Division and the studys lead author. The next step is to determine the prevalence of the AKT1 mutation in different populations and, hopefully, use the information gained to stratify patients going into clinical trials for AKT inhibitors.

If validated by further studies, the identification of this recurring mutation has the potential to impact cancer treatment and drug development.

This is a gorgeous study that used a variety of sophisticated techniques to provide new insights into the tumorigenic process, said Bert Vogelstein, MD, Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics & Therapeutics at The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

James E. Thomas, PhD, of Lillys Cancer Discovery Research division, explained, AKT1 is a protein kinase or enzyme that plays a key role in activating survival, proliferation and metabolic pathways. Interestingly, other cellular proteins that regulate this network have also been shown to be mutated in a variety of cancers including lung, breast ovary, prostate, colorectal and brain cancers. This mutation in AKT1 is striking direct evidence for the role of AKT1 in cancer formation.

The identification of the AKT1 mutation was a collaborative effort between Eli Lilly & Company and TGen. This discovery demonstrates the importance of studying the genetic make up of cancers at the clinical level rather than relying on model systems, adds Jeffrey Trent, PhD, Scientific Director of TGen.

This is a key study highlighting Lillys commitment to translational research approaches in cancer drug discovery and development. Furthermore, this work is a great example of a successful public-private partnership at a global lev
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Contact: Amy Erickson
aerickson@tgen.org
602-343-8522
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
4-Jul-2007


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