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New drug for treatment of aggressive breast cancer found by Irish researchers

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New drug for treatment of aggressive breast cancer found by Irish researchers

January 01
16:46 2017

clinic-doctor-health-hospital-largeAs recently published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from Breast-Predict, may have found a new drug for the treatment of Triple-negative breast cancer. The drug APR-246, which will be tested in clinical trials to ensure its success, prevents the growth of Triple-negative breast cancer cells.

Breast- Predict is an Irish Cancer Society Collaborative Cancer Research Centre, which is located at St. Vincent’s Hospital and University College Dublin.

With more than 250 new cases of Triple-negative breast cancer diagnosed per year, mostly found among young women, this form of breast cancer ranks among the most aggressive. Furthermore, it accounts for one in six breast cancer cases in the world.

For most types of breast cancer, drugs, like Herceptin, or hormone therapies are being used, in order to attack three so called “Biomarkers”. However, these “Biomarkers” cannot be found in Triple-negative breast cancers, leaving chemotherapy as the only current treatment option.

But a major problem is that not everyone’s cells respond to this form of treatment. “While this will work well for some patients, others may find that their cancer cells don’t respond as well as might be hoped to chemo, leading to patients suffering the side effects without any of the desired outcomes,” explained Naoise Synott, the PhD University College Dublin student, who conducted the research.

At this point the drug APR-246 should be used in the future, which corrects a mutated p53 gene, that occurs in 80 percent of these breast cancers. By correcting this gene, the growth of the cancer can be stopped.

Although the survival rate of women with breast cancer has increased to 85%, in the last five years, the future does not look so bright, in view of cancer diseases. The number of people with cancer in Ireland is expected to double within the next 24 years.

The research project is supported by the Irish Cancer Society. Dr. Robert O’Connor, the Society’s Head of Research, did not only praise the finding as a “milestone”, but also declared that in consideration of the expected growing number of cancer patients, further research would be “vital if to tackle this growing epidemic of cancer”. According to O’Connor these research programs would ensure that “the most advanced personalised treatment options are available and that as many patients as possible thrive after their treatment”.


written by Isabel Riedel

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