BCL-2: found bound and drugged!

Trends Mol Med. 2005 Oct;11(10):442-4. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2005.08.007.


The BCL-2 gene was first cloned in 1985 from the t(14;18) chromosomal translocation found in nearly all follicular lymphomas. BCL-2 is understood to have a central role in inhibiting apoptosis. Now, Oltersdorf et al. report the development of a high-affinity, mechanistically validated small-molecule antagonist of BCL-2 that kills cancer in mouse xenograft models and primary human cancer cells in vitro. The two decades spanning these two achievements provide an interesting case study of rational drug development. The investigation of antiapoptotic protein antagonists holds new promise for selectively inducing programmed cell death in cancer cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Biphenyl Compounds / pharmacology
  • Biphenyl Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Drug Design*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Nitrophenols
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular / methods
  • Piperazines
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / agonists*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Sulfonamides


  • ABT-737
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Nitrophenols
  • Piperazines
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Sulfonamides