Vall d'Hebron scientists find the potential of a drug to stop metastasis in breast cancer

Researchers of the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) have shown that Omomyc, a therapeutic protein that works to attacking primary tumors, it is also effective for metastasis on breast cancer.

It has long been known with certainty that the MYC gene family plays an important role in the development of many types of tumors, and Omomyc, as a tumor-inhibiting protein, is effective in treating primary tumors. However, there is some controversy about the role of MYC in metastases and some studies even suggest that inhibiting it would be counterproductive and could enhance the regrowth of the Cancer.

But the VHIO research, data for which has just been published in Cancer Research Communications (a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research), has shown the efficacy of inhibiting MYC with Omomyc, via different experiments both in vitro and in vivo.

"The response has been very positive and in all cases it has been possible to verify that Omomyc has significant anti-metastatic activity, contrary to what had been speculated”, explains Dr. Daniel Massó, researcher at the spin-off Peptomyc and first author of the article.

"Until now we have shown that Omomyc was effective in controlling many primary tumors; now, in addition, we have seen that it is also an effective drug at block invasion, establishment, and growth of metastases in breast cancer", adds Dr. Laura Soucek, co-director of Translational and Preclinical Research and head of the Antitumor Therapies Modeling Group at VHIO.

Omomyc was created by Vall d'Hebron as a miniprotein capable of inhibiting MYC and, after multiple preclinical studies whose results have gone around the world, it is already being tested in patients, in a clinical trial that began in May last year.

Prior to the trial, Omomyc had already demonstrated potent antitumor activity in multiple tumor cell lines and mouse cancer models, regardless of tissue of origin and mutations.

However, all research work carried out to date with this drug has focused on primary tumors and its efficacy against metastatic disease had never been proven.

With this latest study, it has been possible to demonstrate it through a multitude of experiments, both in in vitro models and in mouse models. In the former, the efficacy was tested in all types of tumors, while in the latter the work focused on breast cancer triple negativea disease that urgently needs better therapeutic options.

Although the research carried out has not yet been carried out with people, the VHIO did analyze patient databases, in which it was possible to verify that those patients with breast cancer who presented overexpression of the genes that Omomyc blocks had a longer survival short. "This makes us optimistic and to think that, if these patients were treated with our drug, perhaps we could improve their survival", highlights Dr. Massó.

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