Targeting a Breast Cancer Invasion Control Switch
PI: Anthony J. Koleske, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Neurobiology
Co-PI: Titus J. Boggon, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology
Metastasis, or the spread of a primary tumor, is the greatest cause of mortality from breast cancer. Dr. Koleske’s research has shown that three particular proteins come together to form a control “switch” in breast cancer cells which when turned on enables the cells to invade surrounding tissues, where they can develop secondary tumors.
He and co-investigator Dr. Boggon are investigating this switch to develop ways to keep it from forming. Their plan is to identify the small molecule compounds that disrupt the interaction of the three proteins, to prevent the switch from turning on. They are taking the first important steps toward developing a new class of drugs to target this switch and thus limit the spread of breast cancer cells. Currently, there are no drugs that selectively target breast cancer metastasis.