Researchers at Stanford University say they have found a new way to stop the spread of cancer.
Jennifer Cochran is one of the co-authors of the study. She says they engineered a protein, multiplied it and then injected it into mice.
"Most patients succumb to metastatic disease when the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. This process is known as metastasis.
“What we've done is create an engineered protein that will interfere with these biochemical signals and will prevent metastasis from happening,” Cochran says.
The treatment stopped the spread of cancer in 90 percent of the mice with ovarian cancer in the study and 80 percent of mice with breast cancer. Great numbers, Cochran says, because cancerous tumors are harder to remove once the harmful cells spread.
"Which we were excited about but again, these are animal models. We need to see if those results would hold up in humans,” Cochran says.
Cochran says the treatment is also different than chemotherapy because it didn’t appear to leave toxic side effects.
"Chemotherapy is very non-specific in that it targets all cells in the body including healthy cells," she says. "And that's what makes it so toxic."
The next phase of the study will include human trials and could take several years for FDA approval.
The hope is this treatment could give cancer patients a longer life.