During clinical trials on animal models, the new scientific director of the Montreal Clinical Research Institute, Jean-François Côté, discovered that the formation of metastases can be completely prevented by blocking the action of the AXL protein. , without any other form of intervention.
Mr. Côté’s preclinical trials focused on HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer, but he assures us that his discovery is potentially applicable to all solid tumors.
There is a lot of interest around the world for the AXL proteinexplained Mr. Côté, who shared the conclusions of his work with The Canadian Press on the occasion of World Cancer Day, February 4.
Its expression correlates in virtually all types of solid cancers with the formation of metastases, but it is not fully understood what it does.
” We really managed to demonstrate that for cancers that will express AXL, if we are able to block the activity of AXL, the formation of metastases is really abolished in an impressive way. »
This effect relates specifically to the metastatic activity of the tumorspecified Mr. Côté, and in no way influences its other properties.
However, other work carried out in the laboratory by Mr. Côté has shown that the size of the main tumor could be reduced by simultaneously inhibiting the AXL protein and a molecule targeted for immunotherapy.
The potential impact of this discovery becomes clear when we know that HER2+ cancers respond less well than others to immunotherapy, a form of treatment that consists of sending the immune system to attack and destroy the tumour.
Blocking AXL activity promotes an environment in which immunotherapy more effectively targets the primary tumor, said Mr. Côté. The researcher talks about
two punches one after the other.
Inhibition of AXL will block the formation of metastaseshe said.
And then if we combine that with an immunotherapy treatment, we also increase the effectiveness of the treatment on the primary tumour. So it’s very promising.
Researchers elsewhere in the world are interested, for example, in kidney cancer and lung cancer. When these tumors express AXL, Côté said, there is growing evidence that you can block the formation of metastases by interfering with the activity of the protein.
He’s a player that looks pretty key and widespread as an interesting target that could impact multiple types of cancer.he pointed out.
Several drugs that block AXL are currently in clinical trials around the world.