A collaboration of scientists have published promising results of a study identifying new compounds that interfere with cell signalling pathways potentially providing a new approach to cancer treatment.

The study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Early Edition located two PITs (non-phosphoinositide PIP3 inhibitors) out of 50,000 screened small molecules.

PIP3 inhibitors cause cells to self-destruct by interfering with the signalling pathways that regulate cell survival and have been shown to limit tumor growth in mice by inducing cell death.

Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts and senior author Alexei Degterev, PhD, said that as compounds that promote cell death, PITs show promise in halting the harmful, unwanted growth characteristic of cancer.

Degterev teamed up with colleagues at TUSM, Northeastern University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, India.

PITs are a promising and relatively unexplored approach to cancer treatment and may be able to target cancer at an early point in a cell signalling pathway which is over-activated in many human tumours.