Incanthera Ltd. has found a new use for a class of enzymes that are up-regulated in tumors and contribute to cancer progression. Rather than design inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases, the biotech is instead using them to activate cytotoxic cancer therapies at the tumor site.

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of 24 zinc-dependent endopeptidases involved in degradation of extracellular matrix protein components. Many MMPs are up-regulated in cancers and promote tumor growth, migration, differentiation, invasion and metastasis.