Investigators Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, and Jian Jin, PhD, have engineered a synthetic compound—a small molecule called MS21— that targets the PTEN/AKT pathway, one of the most commonly mutated pathways in human cancers.
One of the most commonly mutated pathways in human cancers involves the tumor-suppressor gene PTEN and the protein AKT, which regulates cell growth and proliferation and is overactive in many types of cancer. Biopharmaceutical companies have been developing and testing drugs to inhibit AKT for nearly two decades. But, to date, no therapies that block AKT have been approved for use in the clinic. In some cases, these investigational drugs appear to cause serious side effects. In other cases, the tumors acquire resistance and quickly recur.