Growth factor blockade targets breast tumorsby Dagny Stuart Aug. 14, 2014, 8:30 AM
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are cytokines/growth factors with differing roles in cancer. They are overexpressed in human breast cancers.
Investigators led by Philip Owens, Ph.D., and Hal Moses, M.D., blocked BMP signaling in a metastatic breast cancer mouse model using DMH1, a compound developed by Charles Hong, M.D., Ph.D., and Corey Hopkins, Ph.D. DMH1 works as a BMP antagonist.
The researchers found that the compound had anti-tumor effects by targeting not just the cancerous cells but also the microenvironment. The tumors shrank and no longer had a venous or lymphatic system that would enable metastasis. Connective tissue cells that make up the matrix surrounding the tumor were no longer cancer-promoting. The investigators also noted a tumor suppressive immune system response.
The findings, published in Oncogene, indicate that inhibiting BMP signaling is a promising method to target both the tumor and the microenvironment, and that drugs being developed at Vanderbilt may one day be useful as breast cancer therapeutics.
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