For aggressive breast cancer in the brain, researchers clarify immune response
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CHICAGO — Once it has begun to spread in the body, approximately half of patients with an aggressive breast cancer type will develop cancer in the brain. Researchers at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center want to improve treatment for patients with breast cancer brain metastases, but using the body’s existing defenses – the immune system.

In a preliminary study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018 in Chicago, researchers revealed findings for what kind of immune response the body is staging against triple negative breast cancer that has spread to the brain. They hope they can use these findings to improve patient responses to drugs that work by unleashing the immune system against cancer.

“Patients with brain metastases do a lot worse clinically,” said the study’s first author Benjamin Vincent, MD, UNC Lineberger member and assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine. “They are sicker, and they die earlier with their disease than patients with metastases everywhere else. What makes the biology of brain metastases and immune responses in the brain different from other sites of disease was our question. We’d love to figure that out so we can target

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