Fueled by new cancer therapeutics, last year the annual new molecular and biological entity approval count from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) saw its highest year since 1997. One-third of the novel products approved by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) are used to treat cancers of the blood, breast, colon, prostate, skin and thyroid.
Tyrosine kinases are signaling molecules that are frequently mutated as cells become tumorigenic. One of their responsibilities is regulating a cell’s growth based on the extracellular signals they receive. The presence of extracellular growth factors tells them to induce the cell to grow more rapidly, while a lack of oxygen or nutrients tells them to grow more slowly. When these kinases are mutated they make the cell grow uncontrollably, divorcing growth from the conditions outside the cell. In some cases, this mutation is what makes a cell cancerous.