New compounds block master regulator of cancer growth, metastasis

Researchers including, from left, graduate student Valeria Sanabria Guillen, research scientist Sung Hoon Kim, researcher Kathy Carlson, chemistry professor John Katzenellenbogen, research specialist Yvonne Ziegler, and molecular and integrative physiology professor Benita Katzenellenbogen developed new drug agents to inhibit a pathway that contributes to cancer. The compounds killed cancer cells and reduced the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice.

Scientists have developed new drug compounds that thwart the pro-cancer activity of FOXM1, a transcription factor that regulates the activity of dozens of genes. The new compounds suppress tumor growth in human cells and in mouse models of several types of human breast cancer.

The researchers report their findings in the journal NPJ Breast Cancer.

FOXM1 is a naturally occurring protein that ramps up the expression of genes that are important to cell proliferation and development. It plays an important role during early development, but normally is present only at very low levels in adult tissues.

The researchers focused on FOXM1 because it is found in higher abundance in cancer cells than in healthy human cells, said Benita Katzenellenbogen, a University of Illinois professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology who led the study with U. of I. chemistry professor John Katzenellenbogen and life sciences research specialist Yvonne Ziegler.

“FOXM1 is a key factor that makes breast cancer and many other cancers more aggressive and more difficult to treat,” Benita Katzenellenbogen said. “Because it is a master regulator of cancer growth and metastasis, there has been great interest in developing compounds that would be effective in blocking it.”

Article provided by Diana Yates of the Illinois News Bureau.

Read the full article here.

January 07, 2020 All News