The retinoblastoma gene, Rb, was originally identified as the tumor suppressor gene mutated in a rare childhood cancer called retinoblastoma (reviewed in ). Subsequent studies showed that Rb functions in a pathway that is often functionally inactivated in a large majority of human cancers. Interestingly, recent studies showed that in certain types of cancers, Rb function is actually required for cancer development. The intimate link between the Rb pathway and cancer development suggests that the status of Rb activity can potentially be used to develop targeted therapy. However, a prerequisite will be to understand the role of Rb and its interaction with other signaling pathways in cancer development. In this review, we will discuss the roles of Rb in proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation by reviewing the recent findings in both mammalian systems and different model organisms. In addition, we will discuss strategies that can be employed that specifically target cancer cells based on the status of the Rb pathway.
Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.