A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research has identified a bone matrix protein called secreted phosphoprotein 24 kD (Spp24) that may help to treat osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer.
In experiments conducted in cells and mice, investigators found that Spp24 inhibits the proliferation and invasiveness of osteosarcoma tumour cells and promotes their apoptosis, or death.
Mechanistically, Spp24 binds to and neutralises a protein called bone morphogenetic protein 2, which has tumour enhancing properties.
“Spp24 and its proteolytic products have a number of effects on bone metabolism that have been elucidated to various degrees. They have the potential to be engineered into bone therapeutics, and this anti-tumour effect through bone morphogenetic protein 2 sequestration is only one such example,” said co–corresponding author Haijun Tian, MD, PhD, of Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine.
“Like many other bone matrix proteins, the more we look into the function of Spp24, the more surprising roles we find even though the primary function of Spp24 remains uncertain.”