British scientists may have found a way to stop cancers spreading to the brain.
The research team discovered that cancer cells hijack the brain's blood vessels to get all the nourishment they need to seed themselves there.
Boffins believe that the key to this is a protein on the surface of cancer cells called integrin that allows them to stick to the vessels, PLoS ONE journal reports.
Researchers at Oxford University, with funding from Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council and the US National Institutes of Health, wanted to investigate exactly how cancers spread.
After analyses, Dr Shawn Carbonell and his team found that the metastatic cancer cells start to grow on the walls of blood vessels in the brain in over 95 percent of cases, and not on the nerve cells.
"We have identified the protein that cancer cells use to anchor themselves to blood vessels in the brain. Now we can try to come up with drugs to target this protein and stop metastatic cancer cells from taking hold in the brain," The BBC quoted Carbonell, as saying.