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Discovery of Small Molecules that Target Autophagy for Cancer Treatment

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Autophagy is a self-renewal process in cells by recycling redundant materials through lysosomal machinery. The basal level of autophagy in eukaryotic cells plays a “housekeeping” role by degrading redundant cellular materials and providing nutrients and energy. However acute and sustained autophagy may cause autophagic cell death. These two features of autophagy are consistent with its complex roles in both oncogenesis and cancer development. Many small molecule autophagy regulators are developed to turn autophagy on/off for therapeutic purpose. The roles of chemotherapeutic agents in regulating autophagy and facilitating cancer treatment can be classified into three categories: direct autophagy enhancers, indirect autophagy enhancers and autophagy inhibitors. The representative autophagy regulators and their roles in cancer treatment were reviewed.





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Keywords: Autophagy; autophagic cell death; autophagy regulators; cancer treatment; chemotherapeutic agents; drug discovery; eukaryotic cells; lysosomal machinery; self-renewal process

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-04-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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