Spp24 and Tumor Suppression

Tech ID: 21507 / UC Case 2010-272-0


UCLA researchers have demonstrated that the addition of a bone matrix protein specifically reduces tumor growth in their relevant animal model


The spine is the most common site of tumor metastases to bone. Many different cancer types metastasize to the spine with lung, prostate, breast, kidney, and gastrointestinal cancers accounting for the majority of spinal column tumors. Current therapies for these cancers in bone include hormone treatment, external beam radiation, radioisotopes, prophylactic surgery for osteolytic lesions, and small molecule administration. These approaches, however, are all limited by toxicity, specificity, the potential for adverse side effects, and cost. The development of new therapeutic agents could lengthen and improve the quality of life for cancer patients.


UCLA innovators have demonstrated the use of a small protein, Spp24, to reduce tumor growth in an animal model of skeletal metastasis. Spp24 binds to bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), TGF-β, and other related proteins, which have been implicated in bone metastases associated with many cancer types. The researchers have shown that binding of Spp24 prohibits the binding of these growth factors to tumor cells and drastically reduces tumor growth in mice injected with human non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). They treated the animals with subcutaneous or direct tumor injections of NSCLC cells and Spp24 and measured substantially reduced tumor volumes for both delivery methods in the presence of Spp24. In fact, there was insufficient tumor mass following the Spp24 direct injection to permit quantitative analysis. In practice the material could be embedded into a collagen sponge to implant into the tumor site or injected directly.


  • Bone metastasis therapeutic
  • Embedded into a collagen sponge for tumor site implantation
  • Injected directly into the tumor site


  • Highly specific, inexpensive, non-toxic native binding protein
  • Reduce tumor growth in both subcutaneous and bone cavity environments
  • Greater binding spectrum than another BMP-bindng protein, noggin, making it effective for more cancer types
  • More is known about the spp24 binding site than that of noggin
  • Amenable to bioengineering improvements

State Of Development

The anti-tumor material has been successfully tested in the inventors' NSCLC animal model. It is ready to be developed into a clinically useful therapeutic

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 8962569 02/24/2015 2010-272


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  • Murray, Samuel S.

Other Information


Bone morphogenetic proteins, tumor suppression, bone metastasis

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