Lysophosphatidylcholines (LPC), also called lysolecithins, are a class of chemical compounds which are derived from phosphatidylcholines. They result from partial hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholines, which removes one of the fatty acid groups. The hydrolysis is generally the result of the enzymatic action of phospholipase A2. LPC can be used in the lab to cause demyelination of brain slices, to mimic the effects of demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Among other properties, they stimulate phagocytosis and can change the surface properties of erythrocytes. LPC is present as a minor phospholipid in the cell membrane (= 3%) and in the blood plasma (8-12%). Since LPCs are quickly metabolized by lysophosholypase and LPC-acyltransferase, they last only shortly in vivo. Hence they were not utilized as medical drug. By replacing the acyl-group within the LPC with an alkyl-group, alkyl-lysophospholipids (ALP) were synthesized. These analogues of LPC are metabolically stable, and several such as edelfosine, miltefosine and perifosine are under research and development as drugs against cancer and other diseases. Their anti-cancer abilities are special since they do not target the cell DNA but insert into the plasma membrane and cause apoptosis through influencing several signal pathways. Therefore their effects are independent of the proliferation state of the tumor cell.