Recently, a research team led by New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine investigators found a protein that lung, breast, and other cancers use to advance their spread (also known as metastasis) to the brain. The protein CEMIP is now a center of attention for researchers to analyze, prevent, and cure brain metastases, which are a common cause of deaths due to cancer. The study was published in the journal Nature Cell Biology. The researchers discovered that CEMIP impels blood vessels and local immune cells in the brain to create inflammatory molecules, which in return back the survival and development of cancer cells to produce brain tumors.
In animal-model and lab-dish trials, eliminating CEMIP greatly hinder the brain metastasis process. During the experiments on human patients’ lung and breast tumors, the investigators associated high CEMIP levels to a high menace of metastasis to the brain. Dr. David Lyden—Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine—said, “The findings from our study suggested that obstructing the CEMIP protein can be an ideal method for treating or preventing brain metastasis and that controlling the primary tumors’ CEMIP levels may facilitate us—for the very first time—to forecast the peril of brain metastasis.”
On a related note, recently, a study explored the course of breast-to-brain cancer metastasis. Reportedly, in 2018, breast cancer was the most ordinary cancer in women across the globe, accounting for almost a quarter of all registered cancers cases. It is noted that when breast cancer metastasizes, the brain is the most common destination. The occurrence of the breast-to-brain metastases has made researchers believe that there is a fundamental logic for why breast cancer cells look for and seed tumor growths in the brain. Explaining the rationale could provide the means to reduce the breast-to-brain metastases or even stop them altogether.