MetaMol capitalizes on its strong research foundation to achieve success in product development. Please navigate the links on the left to read about our mission and commitment.

Our Mission

Current chemotherapy or hormone therapy suppresses the growth of cancer cells but does not effectively prevent their dissemination through the body. As a consequence, relapse frequently occurs in target organs of metastasis, originating from cells that were not eradicated by the initial treatment.

Tumor cell dissemination is an early event in cancer. Therefore, improved protection from metastasis and relapse will hinge on agents that directly suppress the molecules that mediate cancer invasiveness and anchorage-independence, the two basic mechanisms of metastasis. MetaMol’s mission is to develop diagnostics for the ability of cancer to spread and to supplement existing cancer therapies with anti-metastasis drugs.

Our Commitment

MetaMol‘s commitment to the development of anti-metastasis drugs is derived from studies of osteopontin, a glycoprotein that is normally secreted by cells of the immune system. Osteopontin has also been associated with metastasis formation by various cancers. Because the immune system can suppress tumor growth it was implied that there needed to be differences between host osteopontin and tumor-derived osteopontin that account for their distinct functions. Because we had previously identified aberrant processing of RNA (splicing) as a mechanism of deregulation of metastasis genes in cancer, we investigated osteopontin splicing in breast cancer cells. We discovered that the shortest splice form “osteopontin-C” is exclusively present in 75-80% of breast cancers, while not even a trace is detectable in normal breasts. Further, osteopontin-C plays an important role in conveying aggressive behavior to breast cancer cells as it strongly supports anchorage-independence. Without anchorage-independence, disseminating cancer cells could not survive in the circulation.

These observations have defined osteopontin-C as a useful diagnostic tool for determining the aggressiveness of cancers and as a potential drug targetMetaMol is also developing inhibitors of osteopontin-CThis is significant because the inhibition of a functionally important molecule that is present on about ¾ of all breast cancers will provide treatment options to the majority of patients who currently succumb.