Removing a single protein from the blood could stop breast cancer spreading to other part of the body, scientists have discovered.
They identified a key molecule, which triggers the growth of blood vessels in tumors that have spread to the brain – a common secondary site for breast cancer to spread.
By withholding the protein, called DOCK4, a particular part of the blood vessel did not form as quickly, meaning tumors grew at a slower rate, scientists found.
Dr Georgia Mavria, from the University of Leeds, said the discovery could help develop new drugs and identify people at risk of their breast cancer spreading.
She said: ‘We want to understand how these tumors form and grow, but we still need to do more research to stop these tumors growing altogether.
‘The finding gives an important indicator of how the protein affects the growth of secondary breast tumors in the brain.
‘The discovery could also enable experts to predict which patients might be at risk of their breast cancer spreading, and develop drugs to prevent the growth of secondary tumors.’
By slowing down the speed at which the lumen forms, tumors are not fed as effectively by blood vessels.