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Biotecnología Aplicada

On-line version ISSN 1027-2852


Quantitative polymerase chain reaction of gene expression in the preclinical and clinical development for anticancer drugs. Biotecnol Apl [online]. 2014, vol.31, n.4, pp.258-267. ISSN 1027-2852.

Cancer starts from changes in the individual’s genome which are caused by physical, chemical or biological factors. This complex disease increases the mortality and morbidity variables in developed countries, and also in Cuba. Anticancer drug development is a long and expensive process, with a failure rate higher than in other diseases. For that reason, some biomarkers are being implemented for a more efficacious prediction of new therapeutic candidates at early phases of preclinical or clinical development. Then, decision making on stopping or proceeding with a biologically active compound does not applies to final phases of development when a great amount of resources has been spent. Genomic biomarkers are surrogate indicators to measure drug response in the cancer, and also cheaper, of easier analysis and more specific than proteomic biomarkers. In this context, the quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), has been used to determine gene expression and to confirm and validate other genomic biomarkers. Here we discuss its high analytical sensitivity and specificity, and its possible automation for high throughput analysis of the expression of coding RNA. qPCR could be used alone or complementary to high flow genomic technologies for anticancer drug development in developing countries. Its increased use will be determined by an adequate cost-benefit ratio at the different phases, the generation of more reliable pharmacological and toxicological databases and by increasing the knowledge on this disease to obtain safer and more efficacious drugs.

Keywords : quantitative polymerase chain reaction; anticancer drugs; biomarker; drug development.

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