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Rational Drug Design of G-Quartet DNA as Anti-Cancer Agents

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The ability of certain DNA sequences to form G-quartet structures has been exploited recently to develop novel anti-cancer agents including small molecules that promote G-quartet formation within the c-MYC promoter thereby repressing c-MYC transcription and introducing G-quartet-forming oligodeoxynucleotides (GQ-ODN) into cancer cells resulting in p53-dependent cell cycle arrest and inhibition of DNA replication. GQ-ODNs also have been developed as potent inhibitors of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3, a critical mediator of oncogenic signaling in many cancers. This review summarizes the rational design of G-quartet forming DNA drugs as Stat3 inhibitors. Topics that are reviewed include the strategy of structure-based drug design, establishment of a structure-activity relationship, development of a novel intracellular delivery system for G-quartet-forming DNA agents and in vivo drug testing to assess the anti-cancer effects of DNA drugs in tumor xenografts. Results to date with GQ-ODN targeting Stat3 are encouraging, and it is hoped that continued pursuit of the methodology outlined here may lead to development of an effective agent for treatment of metastatic cancers, such as prostate and breast, in which Stat3 is constitutively activated.
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Keywords: apoptosis; breast cancer; cancer therapy; dna drugs; drug delivery; drug design; g-quartet oligodeoxynucleotides (gq-odn); prostate cancer; signal transducer and activator of transcription (stat) 3

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Medicine/Section of Infectious Diseases, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston TX 77030, USA.

Publication date: 2005-08-01

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  • Current Pharmaceutical Design publishes timely in-depth reviews covering all aspects of current research in rational drug design. Each issue is devoted to a single major therapeutic area. A Guest Editor who is an acknowledged authority in a therapeutic field has solicits for each issue comprehensive and timely reviews from leading researchers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

    Each thematic issue of Current Pharmaceutical Design covers all subject areas of major importance to modern drug design, including: medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, drug targets and disease mechanism.
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