Cancer drug breaches blood-brain barrier using nanovesicles

In another successful breach of the blood-brain barrier, researchers have homed in on a nanovesicle drug capable of entering the brain and targeting tumor cells and blood vessels there.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center team used the drug saposin-C dioleoylphosphatidylserine, or SapC-DOPS, in a laboratory and animal study to treat brain tumors such as the aggressive glioblastoma multiforme.

Normally, the blood-brain barrier blocks the entrance of drugs capable of acting on tumors, but the nanovesicle in which SapC-DOPS is carried allows it to pass through the tight blood vessels there. Once in the brain, the nanovesicles fuse with the tumor cells, according to the article in the journal Molecular Therapy, and cause them to self-destruct.

"Few drugs have the capacity to cross the tumor blood-brain barrier and specifically target tumor cells," lead author Belveen Kaur said in a statement. "Our preclinical study indicates that SapC-DOPS does both and inhibits the growth of new tumor blood vessels, suggesting that this agent could one day be an important treatment for glioblastoma and other solid tumors."

As many as 3,740 cases of glioblastoma are expected in the U.S. this year with a median survival of about 15 months, according to a release.

The NIH, National Cancer Institute and a New Drug State Key Project grant helped fund the research.

- here's the release
- and here's the abstract