Author: Edward Bartel

Scientists in Canada believe the injection of maspin into the nucleus of aggressive cancer cells can dramatically halt the spread of the disease, reducing the chance of needing developed cancer treatment.

Studies on two types of aggressive cancer cell, an invasive head and neck cancer and a form of breast cancer, were tested by applying two forms of maspin into the nucleus of one set of cells, while another set was applied to the cytoplasm – the surrounding area of a cell’s centre.

It has long been assumed that maspin had some effect on the development of cancer. However, the study’s findings, published in the Laboratory Investigation journal, suggest that the application of maspin can reduce the instance of cancer metastasis.

“Metastasis is the cause of 90 per cent of cancer deaths,” said one of the authors of the study, Dr Ann Chambers, professor of oncology, pathology and medical biophysics at Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Canada.

She added: “Our new work suggests that when maspin is located in the nucleus it blocks cancer spread and growth.”

In Britain, Cancer Research UK report that 309,500 people were diagnosed with the disease in 2008, with the possibility of women developing breast cancer now at one in eight.

1 Goulet, Brigitte, ” Nuclear localization of maspin is essential for its inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis.” Laboratory Investigation. Thursday July 28th 2011.
2 Statistical Information Team: Cancer Research UK, “CancerStats News“. May 2011.