Nature Reviews Drug Discovery: A Protease with Far-Reaching Anti-Cancer Effects

Although cancer therapies are becoming increasingly specific to the tumour and mutation type, a potent tumour-agnostic and mutation-agnostic targeted agent would have a high overall therapeutic utility. Writing in Cell, Cui and colleagues have identified that neutrophil elastase (ELANE), via CD95 (also known as FASL and tumour necrosis factor ligand superfamily member 6) and histone H1 isoforms that are expressed in numerous tumour types, induces apoptosis in cancer cells. This enzyme, and the more cleavage-resistant porcine version, porcine pancreatic elastase (PPE), reduced tumour growth in cell lines, as well as xenograft and syngeneic models, and had abscopal effects at distal tumours.

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