Cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in the United States. There are several therapeutic regimens employed to mitigate the mortality rate of cancer. This includes the use of chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and precision medicine/targeted therapy. Targeted therapy involves the use of drugs that target a specific pathway or biomolecule compromised in cancer for cancer treatment. Aberrant expression of epigenetic enzymes has been well documented for their contribution in driving tumorigenesis and other cancer hallmarks. Hence, there is an urgent need for novel drug discovery and development in epigenetics to help combat various cancer morbidities. Herein, we review the roles and consequences of dysregulated function of several epigenetic enzymes, with a focus on histone methyltransferases (HMTs). Additionally, we discussed the current efforts made in the development of small molecule inhibitors for a few representative HMTs implicated in different cancers. Furthermore, the common screening assays used in discovering potent small molecule inhibitors were also detailed in this chapter. Overall, this book chapter highlights the significance of targeting HMTs in different cancers and the clinical application potentials/limitations faced by the developed or emerging small molecule inhibitors of HMTs for the purpose of cancer therapy.
Part of the book: Translational Research in Cancer
Drug discovery is an exciting yet highly costly endeavor. In the United States, developing a new prescription medicine that gains marketing approval takes near a decade and costs drugmakers for near 3 billion. More challengingly, the success rate of a compound entering phase I trials is just slightly under 10%. Because of these mounting hurdles, repurposing market approved drugs to new clinical indications has been a new trend on the rise. Another merit to this approach is the already confirmed toxicity profiles of the drugs and their possession of drug-like features. Thus, repurposed drugs can reach the market approved stage in a much faster, cheaper, and more efficient way. Notably, epigenetic enzymes play a critical role in the etiology and progression of different diseases. Researchers are now assessing the possibilities of using market approved drugs to target epigenetic enzymes as a novel strategy to curtail disease progression. Thus, in this book chapter, we will provide an outlook on repurposing market drugs to target epigenetic enzymes in various diseases. Consequently, this book chapter will not only provide the readers with current knowledge in this specific field, but also will shed light on the pathway forward for repurposing market drugs to target epigenetic enzymes in human diseases.
Part of the book: Drug Repurposing