Researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have in
collaboration with the University of Turku, Indiana University and two Finnish
companies, Biotie Therapies Corp. and Pharmatest Services Ltd, discovered a
novel mechanism regulating the development of breast cancer bone metastases
and showed that heparin-like compounds can potentially be used to inhibit
breast cancer metastasis to bone.
These findings were published on the Molecular Cancer Research journal
website on 20th April 2012.
The researchers at VTT used RNA
interference-based screening in breast cancer cells and found that an enzyme
that modifies heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans, HS6ST2, is an important
regulator of breast cancer cell–bone interactions. Heparin, which is commonly
used as an anticoagulant, also inhibited this regulatory mechanism.
in a mouse model of breast cancer bone metastasis indicated that heparin-like
compounds decreased bone destruction and tumor growth in bone. One of these
heparin-like compounds, developed by Biotie Therapies, has a significantly
reduced anticoagulant activity as compared to heparin, which improves its
applicability as a potential cancer therapeutic agent.
cancer that has metastasized to bone is currently an incurable disease,
causing significant morbidity and mortality.