Metastatic brain cancer, caused when cancer from another site spreads to the brain, is one of the deadliest forms of the disease (even more so than when cancer starts in the brain). It affects between 10 and 30% of adult cancer patients, there are no treatment options, and it’s almost always fatal.
But a new study from the Cincinnati Cancer Center suggests that there might be a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Xiaoyang Qi and his team from the College of Medicine have found that by combining two natural components, SapC and DOPS (called SapC-DOPS when they’re together), they can kill off cancer cells affecting the brain, while saving healthy tissue.
Once combined, SapC, properly known as alysosomal protein saposin, and DOPS, or dioleoylphosphatidylserine (I can’t imagine why they’d abbreviate) can be made into nanovesicles (tiny units that are found in cells or can be artificially created for medical purposes). When they injected these nanovesicles into animal subjects, they found that SapC-DOPS started working in the space of 24 hours, prompting a complete recovery in two subjects.
The cancers that were cured were implanted by the scientists, and there have been no human trials yet, so the results don’t necessarily replicate what would happen if this treatment was used on actual patients. But it does provide an avenue for further research and the possibility that metastatic cancer in the brain and elsewhere could one day be eradicated.