Protein kinases regulate nearly all aspects of cell life, and alterations in their expression, or mutations in their genes, cause cancer and other diseases. Here, we review the remarkable progress made over the past 20 years in improving the potency and specificity of small-molecule inhibitors of protein and lipid kinases, resulting in the approval of more than 70 new drugs since imatinib was approved in 2001. These compounds have had a significant impact on the way in which we now treat cancers and non-cancerous conditions. We discuss how the challenge of drug resistance to kinase inhibitors is being met and the future of kinase drug discovery.
Twenty years have passed since the first small-molecule protein kinase inhibitor, imatinib, gained FDA approval. Here, Cohen et al. review advances in improving the potency and specificity of small-molecule protein kinase inhibitors and assess approaches to overcome the challenge of drug resistance. Applications of these compounds in cancers and other disorders, as well as future directions in the field, are discussed.