The success of the family of kinases as targets for small-molecule cancer therapeutics is probably best illustrated by the efficacy of the drug Gleevec. In spite of this, the function of many of the kinases in the mammalian genome remains unknown. In a recent paper, MacKeigan and colleagues report a functional genetic screen using RNA interference to identify kinases and phosphatases involved in programmed cell death (MacKeigan et al., 2005). Functional annotation is a prerequisite for selection of new drug targets. Such studies may therefore lay the foundation for the next generation of cancer drugs
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