Study – Treating breast cancer through enzyme activity

July 5, 2019

Breast cancer care has very little progress with immunotherapy, as only a small number of patients can undergo treatment, which can sometimes be unsuccessful. However, researchers at Duke Cancer Institute in North Carolina, US, have identified an enzyme responsible for the growth and spread of breast cancers, and hence, revealed a potential therapeutic target for breast cancer.

Donald McDonnell, Chair of Duke’s Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology, and colleagues reported that the enzyme – CaMKK2 -is highly expressed in macrophages within human breast tumors and inhibition of this enzyme in mice allowed cancer-killing T-cells to mount an immune attack on the tumour.

McDonnell explains that suppressing the activity of the enzyme solves two problems: increasing the accumulation of T-cells and reducing the tumour’s capability to suppress T-cell activity. He likens the process to, “We couldn’t get into the bar, and if we did, we couldn’t get a drink. Now we can do both.”

The researchers have so far worked with others from the University of North Carolina to develop drugs that inhibit the growth of human breast tumors in mice.McDonnell adds that a clinical trial in breast cancer patients will be launched within the next two years, after sufficient laboratory testing.


Category: Education, Features

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