Phosphoinositide 3-kinase in Health and Disease

Volume 347 of the series Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology pp 1-19


PI3K: From the Bench to the Clinic and Back

  • Bart VanhaesebroeckAffiliated withCentre for Cell Signalling, Institute of Cancer, Queen Mary, University of London Email author 
  • , Peter K. VogtAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute
  • , Christian RommelAffiliated withIntellikine Inc.

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From humble beginnings over 25 years ago as a lipid kinase activity associated with certain oncoproteins, PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase) has been catapulted to the forefront of drug development in cancer, immunity and thrombosis, with the first clinical trials of PI3K pathway inhibitors now in progress. Here, we give a brief overview of some key discoveries in the PI3K area and their impact, and include thoughts on the current state of the field, and where it could go from here.

PI3K has become a very intense area of research, with over 2,000 publications on PI3K in PubMed for 2009 alone. The expectations for a therapeutic impact of intervention with PI3K activity are high, and progress in the clinical arena is being monitored by many. However, targeted therapies almost invariably encounter roadblocks, often exposing unresolved questions in the basic understanding of the target. PI3K will most likely be no exception. Below, we describe some of these early “surprises” and how these inform and shape basic science investigations.