A promising approach to cancer therapy is to elicit apoptosis with “BH3 mimetic” drugs, which target proteins of the BCL-2 family. As of yet, however, such drugs can target only certain BCL-2 family proteins. Hence, in this issue of the JCI, LaBelle et al. assess instead the therapeutic potential of a “stapled” BH3 peptide from the BIM protein, which inactivates all its prosurvival relatives. The peptide killed cultured hematologic tumor cells and abated growth of a leukemia xenograft, without perturbing the hematopoietic compartment. Hence, such peptides might eventually provide a new way to treat refractory leukemias.
Jerry M. Adams
Contrasting pharmacologic strategies for reactivating cell death in refractory hematologic malignancies with a BH3 mimetic compound or a stabilized BIM BH3 peptide.