For the vast majority of cancer, if it is detected early as a little lump that stays inside of an organ, the patient will live. And generally, if it is detected late when it has spread throughout the body, the patient will die. To date, the treatment of cancer are mainly directed toward killing cancer, rather than stop cancer cells from spreading around the body.
As you can see, the difference of spreading or not is like day or night, black or white. That's why a team of researchers from OHSU spent decades studying the cancer cell movement, or motility.
The research team working with chemists has discovered a drug that will inhibit cancer cell movement. Specifically, a compound was found to inhibit cell motility in four different human cell models of solid cancer types: breast, prostate, colon and lung cancers.
As the lead researcher said, the key to this drug was engaging the heat shock proteins—the "cleaners" of a cell. The way the drug works is that it binds to these cleaner proteins to stop cell movement, but it has no other effect on those proteins. The mechanism is unusual and unique.
The next step is to test the drug in human. The research team aims to develop a therapeutic that can manage early-stage cancer, inhibit cancer spreading, and prevent patients from getting into a more complicated later-stage cancer.