A study led by Mohammad Azam, PhD, reports detecting a molecular binding pocket that could help scientists develop therapies to block several types of kinase-driven, treatment-resistant cancers.

A treatment that combines blocking two signaling proteins, plus chemotherapy, has been effective in eliminating human leukemia in mouse models, Cincinnati Children’s researchers reported March 20, 2017, in Nature Medicine.

Their findings suggest that blocking the signaling proteins c-Fos and Dusp1 as part of combination therapy might cure several types of kinase-driven, treatment-resistant leukemia and solid tumor cancers.

These include acute myeloid leukemia (AML) fueled by the gene FLT3, lung cancers driven by the genes EGFR and PDGFR, HER2-driven breast cancers, and BCR-ABL-fueled chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), says Mohammad Azam, PhD, lead investigator and a member of the Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology.

“We think that within the next five years our data will change the way people think about cancer development and targeted therapy,” Azam says. “This study identifies a potential Achilles’ heel of kinase-driven cancers and what we propose is intended to be curative, not just treatment.”