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December 11, 2006

Natural Protein Stops Human Brain Cancer in Mice

Topics: Brain Tumors

labelled_brain.gifScientists from Johns Hopkins and from the University of Milan have effectively proven that they can inhibit lethal human brain cancers in mice using a protein - bone morphogenic protein 4, or BMP4, that selectively induces positive changes in the activity of cells that behave like cancer stem cells.

... First they pretreated human glioblastoma cells with bone morphogenic protein 4, or BMP4, then injected these treated cells into mouse brains. In mice injected with cells that were not pretreated, large, invasive cancers grew. In the mice with BMP4-treated cells, no cancers grew at all. Three to four months after injection, all mice that got untreated cells died, and nearly all mice with BMP4-treated cells were alive.

Next, the scientists delivered slow-release BMP4-containing "beads" directly into mouse brains with implanted glioblastoma cells. Mice that got empty beads developed large malignant tumors and died. Mice with BMP4 beads survived much longer, and 80 percent survived four months after cancer cell implants.

The researchers plan to eventually treat patients with BMP4 or something like it right after surgery to remove glioblastoma in hopes of preventing the regrowth of the cancer and improving survival time. Clinical studies using BMP4 are expected to begin within a year and, if they are successful, drug therapies could be available to the public within three to four years.

Posted by Richard at December 11, 2006 9:09 PM

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