Researchers from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research have uncovered a new protein shield that aids in repairing damaged DNA in cells and affects resistance to drugs used for breast cancer treatment. The new study has just been published in the internationally acclaimed scientific journal Cell.
Breast cancer is one the most frequently occurring cancer in women worldwide, and hundreds of thousands of new cases are diagnosed with the disease every year. Around 5-10 percent of breast cancer is hereditary, meaning that a woman inherits faulty breast cancer-causing genes from her parents. For example, mutations in BRCA1 gene are found in many cases of hereditary breast cancer. These women are what we call BRCA positive. Basically, the BRCA proteins are involved in fixing broken DNA in a cell, and because BRCA mutant cells cannot accurately repair their DNA, it leads to the development of cancer. In fact, faulty DNA repair is the fundamental cause of most cancers.
The risk of developing aggressive forms of cancer in BRCA positive women is so high that some women even choose to have both breasts removed (mastectomy) as a preventative treatment. The most well-known case was when the actress Angelina Jolie
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