because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there.
tumors are an extremely serious example of this and are not only difficult to
treat—both adult and pediatric patients have a five-year survival rate of only
30 percent—but also have even been difficult to image, which could provide
important information for deciding next steps in the treatment process.
Cincinnati Cancer Center research studies published in an April online issue of
the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
and a May issue of the Journal of
Visualized Experiments (JoVE), an online peer-reviewed scientific journal
that publishes experimental methods in video format, reveal possibly new ways
to image glioblastoma multiforme tumors—a form of brain tumor—using the SapC-DOPS technology.
lysosomal protein saposin C (SapC), and a phospholipid, known as
dioleoylphosphatidylserine (DOPS), can be combined and assembled into tiny
cavities, or nanovesicles, to target and kill many forms of cancer cells.
are membrane-enclosed organelles that contain enzymes capable of breaking down
all types of biological components; phospholipids are major components of all
cell membranes and form lipid bilayers—or cell membranes.
Qi, PhD, member of the CCC, associate professor in the division of hematology oncology at the
UC College of Medicine, a member of the UC Cancer and Neuroscience Institutes
and the Brain Tumor Center, says his lab and collaborators have previously
found that the combination of two natural cellular components, called SapC-DOPS,
caused cell death in cancer cell types, including brain, lung, skin, prostate,
blood and breast cancer, while sparing normal cells and tissues.
used this knowledge to gain assistance from our collaborators Kati LaSance, Vontz
Core Imaging Lab (VCIL) director, and Patrick Winter, PhD, in the Imaging
Research Center (IRC) at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. We used
SapC-DOPS as a transport vesicle to deliver bio-fluorescence agents and gadolinium-labeled
contrast agents directly to brain tumors which provided visualization using
optical imaging and MRI,” Qi says.
are two things lacking when it comes to brain tumors: getting a good picture of
them and treating them effectively,” says LaSance. "With this discovery, there
are possibilities to improve both. With good visualization of the tumor,
physicians might one day be able to better determine which form of treatment—chemotherapy,
radiation or surgery—would be best for a patient and can image a tumor at its
smallest stages with hopes of intervening much earlier.”
says this is preclinical research, as the studies were done using animal models
that were injected with the SapC-DOPS vesicle assembled with illuminating agents,
but is translational in nature and could be tested soon in human populations.
optical imaging is not applicable to a patient population, both MRI and PET
imaging are,” he says. "The bio-fluorescent molecule used in the JoVE study can
be substituted for a PET molecule and fortunately, PET imaging is widely used by
doctors and hospitals in current cancer patients.
research has the potential to make a large impact in treatment of brain tumors,
and most importantly, it would not have been impossible without support and
collaboration from the VCIL and the IRC.”
studies were funded by the Mayfield Education and Research Foundation, a New
Drug State Key Project (009ZX09102-205) and the National Institutes of
Health/National Cancer Institute (1R01CA158372-01). Researchers cite no
conflicts of interest.