Vall d’Hebron discovers that the drug Omomyc slows down the metastasis of breast cancer


Researchers of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) have shown that Omomyc, a therapeutic protein that works to attack primary tumors, is also effective for metastasis in 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 metastasis, and some studies even suggest that inhibiting it would be counterproductive and could enhance cancer regrowth.

But the VHIO investigation, whose data has just been published in ‘Cancer Research Communications’ (a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research), have demonstrated the efficacy of inhibiting MYC with Omomyc, through different experiments both in vitro and in vivo.

“The response has been very positive and in all cases it has been found that Omomyc has significant anti-metastatic activity, contrary to what had been speculated”, explains the doctor Daniel Masso, researcher of the spin-off Peptomyc and first author of the article.

Created in Vall d’Hebron

“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 by blocking the invasion, establishment and growth of metastases in breast cancer”, adds Dr. Laura Soukekco-director of Translational and Preclinical Research and head of the VHIO Antitumor Therapies Modeling Group.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.

Therapies are urgent

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

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

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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 think that, if these patients were treated with our drug, perhaps we could improve their survival,” Dr. Massó points out.


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