January 22, 2020 - 19:25 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A research team that recently invented a drug to stop blood vessels from forming a treatment resistant barrier around some cancers has now discovered the drug can be used to prevent the cancer from spreading, Medical Xpress reports.
"We originally developed the drug to overcome a problem in some cancers that grow a chaotic barrier of blood vessels in the tumor which prevents the body's immune cells and treatments like chemotherapy entering the tumor," said Professor Ruth Ganss Co-Head of the Cancer and Cell Biology Division at Perth's Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.
"The drug also sets-up lymph-node-like structures within the cancer to draw in a patient's immune system and greatly enhance a patient's own capacity to shrink the cancer.
"What we've since discovered is that by 'normalizing' blood vessels the drug also stops cancer spreading because it counteracts the cancer's influence on blood vessels in other parts of the body.
"Cancer spreads when cancer cells travel through the blood stream and settle and grow in other organs, like the lung or brain.
"They are able to establish themselves in a distant body part because the primary tumor secretes substances that make blood vessels in other organs 'leaky,' or easier to penetrate.
"So when cancer cells travel in the blood stream they typically settle and grow where there are optimal conditions that have actually been created by the primary tumor.
"The primary tumor effectively 'talks' to the site where the metastasis is going to form so when the floating cancer cells arrive, they find a nice cozy environment in which to grow.
"While this behavior of cancer was already known, what we have discovered is that we can interfere with this process because of the way this new drug affects blood vessels.