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Researchers find new treatment for aggressive breast cancer


Researchers have found a new drug that can successfully inhibit the growth of the most aggressive form of breast cancer, a study showed on Monday.

A pre-clinical study led by the University of Adelaide has been considered an exciting development in the battle against triple negative breast cancer, which is the most aggressive form of the disease, said Theresa Hickey, a breast cancer expert at the University of Adelaide's Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories.

The results of this study, according to tests in animals, cells and tissue show that this drug could hold the key to improving survival rates, as there is currently no treatment that specifically targets this type of breast cancer, with chemotherapy and immunotherapy being the only options.

The drug is designed to be taken orally and works by targeting a specific protein in the cancerous tumor called CDK9, which speeds up cell growth, Hickey said, adding that it effectively stops cancer in its tracks by inhibiting this protein.

"Our pre-clinical study shows that the drug was able to stop the tumor cells from multiplying, but did not affect the normal cells in breast tissue taken from patients," she said.

Published in global cancer journal Oncogene, the collaborative study also involved Professor Wang Shudong at the University of South Australia, who developed the drug (CDDD11-8) for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia, which has also been used as a potent, selective, and orally bioactive CDK9 inhibitor for cancer therapy, according to Wang.

The drug needs further development before it can progress to human trials, hopefully within the next five years, if not sooner, Hickey said, adding researchers also plan to conduct future trials to explore if this potential therapy could be used to treat other types of breast cancer.

About 2,500 women are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer each year in Australia, which occurs more frequently in younger women and has a higher rate of relapse within five years and a higher mortality rate than other breast cancers. 

(Cover image: CFP)

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency
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