While pancreatic cancer is one of the toughest malignancies to combat, new research provides insight into how a novel class of agents may have therapeutic potential for this disease.
These agents target cathepsin cysteine proteases, degradative enzymes implicated in the regulation of angiogenesis and invasion during cancer progression. Inhibitors of these enzymes have been shown to effectively thwart tumor progression in a mouse model of pancreatic islet cell cancer (Joyce JA et al. Cancer Cell. 2004;5:443-453). Now scientists in the United States and Germany have deciphered how this inhibition occurs, identifying the specific cathepsins that play a role in pancreatic tumor progression in mice (Gocheva V et al. Genes Dev. 2006;20:543-556).
Hampton T. Cathepsins Probed as Pancreatic Cancer Targets. JAMA. 2006;295(13):1505. doi:10.1001/jama.295.13.1505