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Approximately 10-15 per cent of breast cancer cases do not respond to treatment with hormone therapy, which means that they are more aggressive and often recur. An international research team led by researchers at Lund University in Sweden has uncovered a way to treat these aggressive tumours through manipulation of the connective tissue cells of the tumour. The researchers are now developing a new drug that transforms aggressive breast cancer so that it becomes responsive to standard hormone therapy.
Cancer occurs as a result of mutations and other genetic changes that disable the growth control system normally present in our cells. However, new studies emphasise the importance of the communication of cancer cells with other cell types in the surrounding tissue, such as connective tissue, blood vessels and immune system cells, that enables the tumours to form, spread and resist treatment.
Breast cancer is one of the tumour types that is richest in connective tissue, providing a rationale for a major role of connective tissue cells in tumour growth.
There are a number of different types of breast cancer, each with different prognoses and treatment options. Patients with breast cancers that are hormone-sensitive (around 70
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