Study details how exosomes, released by the breast tumor, tricks cells in the blood-brain barrier into taking them up

From Phys.Org:

Metastasizing breast cancers typically seek out the bones, lung, and brain. Brain metastases are especially dangerous; many women survive for less than a year after diagnosis. How is the cancer able to get past the blood brain barrier? And can it be blocked? Those questions led Ph.D. candidate Golnaz Morad, DDS, and her mentor Marsha Moses, Ph.D., to conduct an in-depth investigation of exosomes, also known as extracellular vesicles or EVs, and their role in breast-to- metastasis. Their surprising findings appear in the journal ACS Nano. “Golnaz was able to identify the mechanism by which EVs pass through the  and provide a ‘niche’ so that  can metastasize to brain,” says Moses, who directs the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and whose lab is interested in women’s cancers.

Now that they know the mechanism, Moses and Morad hope to identify therapeutic targets that could stop  from happening. Simply put, EVs are tiny bubbles released by , encapsulating chemical messages they wish to convey. In the case of  cells, EVs carry factors that help create a more hospitable environment for both the  and its metastases, as Moses and Morad detailed recently in a review article. Primary tumors can secrete EVs into the circulation, allowing them to travel to distant organs and help spread the cancer.

More here.