A new study was released in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that dictated that the key to cancer treatment may be a small but potent inhibitor of tumor metastasis that is actually produced by tumor cells.
The inhibitor was discovered by researchers who work at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA.
The leading cause of deaths that are related to cancer is the spread of cancer cells from one area of the body to others, a process that is medically known as metastasis.
Dr. Randolph S. Watnick at Children’s Hospital in Boston has found evidence that before tumors begin to spread they secrete identifiable proteins that help encourage the growth of tumors within the body.
Further research found that non metastatic tumors, or those that do not spread, also secrete a protein, prosaposin, which blocks the growth of tumors in blood vessels.
Cells that do not metastasize were often found to secrete high levels of the protein prosaposin while cells that did secreted a very small amount leading to the study’s conclusion that prosaposin can be used to prevent the spread of cancer tumors if used upon the diagnosis of cancer in the human body.
They found that in mice when prosaposin was injected into tumor cells the cancer was 80% less likely to spread from lung metastases and that lymph node metastases were eliminated increasing the survival spans of the mice.
On the other hand, when prosaposin was suppressed in tumor cells in the mice they noticed cancer was much more likely spread leaving them to conclude that in humans the exact same procedure could be replicated to prevent the spread of cancer in the body.