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SELECTBIO Conferences Biosensors, Biomarkers & Diagnostics


Aurora A kinase, a Biomarker and a Target for Cancer Research

Claude Prigent, Professor, University of Rennes School of Medicine

In 1997 Aurora-A was discovered overexpressed in cancers, since then the kinase has been considered by pharmaceutical companies as a priority target to develop inhibitors to be used in cancer therapy. In 1998 the function of the kinase in mitotic bipolar spindle assembly was identified together with its oncogenic activity. Overexpression of the kinase is sufficient to transform cell and induce tumour formation in nude mice. A direct relationship between Aurora-A and tumour formation was discovered in 2006 by the demonstration that overexpression of the kinase in mouse mammary epithelium was sufficient to induce tumour formation. However, the same year, it was also reported that a loss of Aurora-A kinase activity in Drosophila neuroblasts led to tumour formation identifying this time Aurora-A as a tumour suppressor. This function of Aurora-A was also observed in mice. How does Aurora-A fulfil this dual function? This must be taken into account when using Aurora-A inhibitors in chemotherapies. Indeed, a large number of Aurora-A inhibitors has been identified since the discovery of the kinase, they show, as usual, variable specificities, and some of them are at present in clinical trials.

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