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Potential for a small molecule therapeutic uncovered through epigenetic screen in retinoblastoma

New research published in the journal Nature has demonstrated that retinoblastoma may develop rapidly due, in part, to epigenetic deregulation of key cancer pathways following the bi-allelic loss of RB1. The research, led by specialists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, showed that expression of the proto-oncogene, spleen tyrosine kinase (“SYK”), was the only up-regulated kinase gene detected in comparative studies between retinoblastoma tumours and human fetal retinae. Small molecule inhibitors of SYK have been tested in patients for rheumatoid arthritis and, according to the authors, may advance “immediate therapeutic options that were not previously considered”.