Proteases as Cancer Therapeutic Targets

January 23-26, Captiva Island, FL

Lynn M. Matrisian, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN

Timothy O’Brien, University of Arkansas
Peter Brown, British Biotech
Ken Hande, Vanderbilt University
Mary Collier, Agouron Pharmaceuticals
Louise Grochow, NCI: Therapy Evaluation
Rachel Humphrey, Bayer Corporation
Ernie Hawk, NCI: Division of Cancer Prevention
Keld Dano, Finsen Laboratory (Denmark)
Vincent Giranda, Abbott Laboratories
Bonnie Sloane, Wayne State University
Steve Rosenberg, Chiron Corporation
Carl Blobel, Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Keren Hulkower, Abbott Laboratories

The purpose of the meeting was to bring together basic scientists, clinical trialists, and pharmaceutical industry representatives to discuss the current state of understanding of the role proteases play in cancer and determine ways to accelerate and optimize the clinical application of protease inhibitors.

Outcome Report:
Sessions focused on the matrix metalloproteases (MMPs), other proteases implicated in cancer, clinical trial considerations related to the development of protease inhibitors and other cytostatic agents, and perspectives from the pharmaceutical industry. In the final discussion, all participants were asked to articulate one insight gained from the meeting that would influence their future efforts. It was clear that the ability to freely exchange information among a small group of investigators with very diverse backgrounds greatly enhanced the understanding and appreciation of the complexities of each component of the process required for effective translation of basic science findings into clinical practice. The tenacity required for the successful application of cytostatic therapies, and the advantage of a team approach with open communication between the various stakeholders to accomplish this goal, was particularly apparent.

The Forbeck Symposium provided an opportunity to initiate this exchange, and the participants were enthusiastic about applying the insights gained from this symposium to advance the identification of protease targets and accelerate the application of protease inhibitors to the treatment of cancer.