Duke University preclinical researchers have been able to inhibit a key enzyme in mice triggering an immune attack on the breast cancer tumor.

Duke University researchers involved with preclinical activity have identified an enzyme in cells involved in regulating the growth and spread of breast cancers. Testing in mice, they demonstrated a way to shut down the enzyme activity and allow T-cells to mount an immune attack as reported in a EurekAlert! press release.


Donald McDonnell, PhD, chair of Duke’s Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology, and Luigi Racioppi, MD, PhD and lead author, reported that a kinase, or enzyme known as CaMKK2, is highly expressed in macrophages within human breast tumors. They performed a series of exploratory studies that revealed the molecule’s potential utility as a therapeutic target for breast cancer. Working with colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, they developed a new class of drugs that inhibited the growth of human breast tumors grown in mice!

The team continues its preclinical work in the hopes of collecting enough data to launch a clinical trial in breast cancer patients within the next 18 months.


Susan G. Komen Foundation

U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command

National Institutes of Health

Lead Research/Investigator

Luigi Racioppi, MD, PhD

Source: EurekAlert!

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