Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
Matrix metalloproteinases are a class of enzymes that can break down proteins, such as collagen and gelatin. Since these enzymes require zinc or calcium atoms to function, they are referred to as metalloproteinases. Matrix metalloproteinases function in tumor cell invasion and metastasis, wound healing, and angiogenesis. They are normally found in the spaces between cells (extracellular) in tissues and are involved in degrading extracellular matrix proteins like collagens and gelatins. The extra-cellular matrix compartments are the primary barriers to tumor growth and spread. Matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors are selective inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases. These agents inhibit tumor metastasis and angio-genesis (supplying the tumor with blood).
Matrix metalloproteinases have been linked to cancers such as breast, ovarian, colorectal, and lung. Synthetic matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors are being explored for use in cancer prevention and treatment because of their demonstrated antimetastatic and antiangiogenic properties. Matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors include compounds such as: Marimastat (BB-2516), COL-3, BAY 12-9566, and KB-R7785. Marimastat (BB-2516) was the first orally bioavailable matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor to enter clinical trials in the field of oncology. Developing nontoxic, orally active, MMP inhibitors is important because these compounds will likely need chronic administration in combination with other therapies.
Crystal Heather Kaczkowski, MSc.