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Major development of potential new cancer drug revealed at ONU seminar

Dec 22, 2008
A potential new drug for the treatment of breast cancer was revealed in a seminar by Dr. Tara Rheault at Ohio Northern University on Dec. 3. Rheault, an oncology medical chemistry researcher with GlaxoSmithKline at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, gave a presentation titled “Potent and Selective Inhibitors of Polo-Like Kinase (PLK1): Novel Anti-mitotic Agents for the Treatment of Cancer” to the ONU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In her presentation, Rheault discussed her research to develop IV-administered therapies based on PLK1, an enzyme that has been shown to play an integral role in the progression of cells, particularly rapidly dividing cancer cells. Interruption of the cell replication cycle through the use of drugs is an effective approach to cancer therapy. The new small-molecule kinase inhibitor, whose chemical structure was first revealed during the seminar at Northern, is in the same class of drugs as GlaxoSmithKline’s recently approved breast cancer drug, Tykerb. Dr. Jake Zimmerman, ONU assistant professor of chemistry, said Rheault had to get special approval from her superiors and lawyers to reveal the structure and added that most major developments of this type are typically reserved for national meetings.
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