Research Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Notre Dame
Mayland Chang, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is working on ways to inhibit cancer metastasis, the spreading of the out-of-control cells to other organs. Although metastasis is a leading reason that cancer becomes fatal, primary tumors rarely kill and often can be treated, no anti-metastatic agent has been commercialized to treat aggressive cancers. Meanwhile, metastasis of breast and prostate cancer, for example, leads to further life-threatening complications that cause tens of thousands of deaths each year.
Building on studies showing that the matrix metal-loproteinases are associated with cancer progression and metastasis in many types of cancers, a few years ago discovered and
synthesized the first prototype selective mechanism-based inhibitor found to be effective in mouse models of prostate cancer metastasis to the bone, breast cancer metastasis to the lungs, and T-cell lymphoma metastasis to the liver. This work has progressed in the direction of compounds that can be used in additional in vivo models for disease, leading to second and third-generation compounds. The researchers are now refining related compounds with the goal of developing selective inhibitors that can advance forward to preclinical development and ultimate entry into clinical trials for the treatment of cancer metastasis.