• Development of a novel tumor-targeted vascular disrupting agent activated by Membrane-type Matrix Metalloproteinases (MT-MMPs)

      Atkinson, Jennifer M.; Falconer, Robert A.; Edwards, D.R.; Pennington, C.J.; Siller, Catherine S.; Shnyder, Steven D.; Bibby, Michael C.; Patterson, Laurence H.; Loadman, Paul M.; Gill, Jason H. (2010)
      Vascular disrupting agents (VDA) offer a strategy to starve solid tumors of nutrients and oxygen concomitant with tumor shrinkage. Several VDAs have progressed into early clinical trials, but their therapeutic value seems to be compromised by systemic toxicity. In this report, we describe the design and characterization of a novel VDA, ICT2588, that is nontoxic until activated specifically in the tumor by membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP). HT1080 cancer cells expressing MT1-MMP were selectively chemosensitive to ICT2588, whereas MCF7 cells that did not express MT1-MMP were nonresponsive. Preferential hydrolysis of ICT2588 to its active metabolite (ICT2552) was observed in tumor homogenates of HT1080 relative to MCF7 homogenates, mouse plasma, and liver homogenate. ICT2588 activation was inhibited by the MMP inhibitor ilomastat. In HT1080 tumor-bearing mice, ICT2588 administration resulted in the formation of the active metabolite, diminution of tumor vasculature, and hemorrhagic necrosis of the tumor. The antitumor activity of ICT2588 was superior to its active metabolite, exhibiting reduced toxicity, improved therapeutic index, enhanced pharmacodynamic effect, and greater efficacy. Coadministration of ICT2588 with doxorubicin resulted in a significant antitumor response (22.6 d growth delay), which was superior to the administration of ICT2588 or doxorubicin as a single agent, including complete tumor regressions. Our findings support the clinical development of ICT2588, which achieves selective VDA targeting based on MT-MMP activation in the tumor microenvironment.
    • Membrane Type MMPs Show Differential Expression in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Compared to Normal Lung; Correlation of MMP-14 mRNA Expression and Proteolytic Activity.

      Atkinson, Jennifer M.; Gill, Jason H.; Loadman, Paul M.; Martin, Sandie W.; Pennington, J.; Anikin, V.A.; Mearns, A.J.; Edwards, D.R. (2007)
      Improved understanding of the involvement of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), including membrane-type MMPs (MT-MMPs), in human tumours has potential diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic implications. We assessed the relationship between MT-MMP expression and clinicopathological parameters in human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and histologically normal lung tissue by quantitative Real Time PCR (qRT-PCR). All MT-MMPs (MMPs 14-17, 24 and 25) were detected by qRT-PCR with significantly higher MMP-14, -15 and -17 expression observed in tumour relative to normal lung specimens. MMP-16 was undetectable in normal lung but expressed in 8% tumours. MMP-15 demonstrated significant overexpression in adenocarcinomas relative to squamous cell carcinomas and normal lung tissue. MMP-14 mRNA expression strongly correlated to MMP-14 proteolytic activity in preclinical tumour models, indicating that qRT-PCR may predict MMP-14 activity levels in NSCLC. These data suggest that MMP-14, -15 and -17 may be good markers of disease, or therapeutic targets for treatment of human NSCLC.
    • Proteases in cancer drug delivery

      Vandooren, J.; Opdenakker, G.; Loadman, Paul M.; Edwards, D.R. (2016-02-01)
      Whereas protease inhibitors have been developed successfully against hypertension and viral infections, they have failed thus far as cancer drugs. With advances in cancer profiling we now better understand that the tumor “degradome” (i.e. the repertoire of proteases and their natural inhibitors and interaction partners) forms a complex network in which specific nodes determine the global outcome of manipulation of the protease web. However, knowing which proteases are active in the tumor micro-environment, we may tackle cancers with the use of Protease-Activated Prodrugs (PAPs). Here we exemplify this concept for metallo-, cysteine and serine proteases. PAPs not only exist as small molecular adducts, containing a cleavable substrate sequence and a latent prodrug, they are presently also manufactured as various types of nanoparticles. Although the emphasis of this review is on PAPs for treatment, it is clear that protease activatable probes and nanoparticles are also powerful tools for imaging purposes, including tumor diagnosis and staging, as well as visualization of tumor imaging during microsurgical resections.