UA Cancer Center team targets tumor suppressor to treat 'triple-negative' breast cancer
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IMAGE: This is Agnieszka Witkiewicz, MD and Erik Knudsen, PhD, UA Cancer Center. view more 

Credit: BioCommunications, Kris Hanning

A study by scientists at the University of Arizona Cancer Center and Cancer Research UK has found that the loss of a specific tumor suppressor in “triple-negative” breast cancer provides clues about potential new approaches to treatment. The results were published on Jan. 30 in the journal Cell Reports.

Triple-negative breast cancers lack three receptors that can be targeted by drugs, which limits treatment options. Therapy can be “targeted” to be more specific to a patient’s individual tumor profile, allowing for the delivery of “personalized” medicine. Currently, patients with triple-negative breast cancer are treated with radiation or chemotherapy, and lack options for targeted forms of treatment.

In response, the UA Cancer Center’s Agnieszka Witkiewicz, MD, professor of pathology, and Erik Knudsen, PhD, professor of medicine at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, analyzed unique features of triple-negative breast cancer to identify possible new approaches for treatment. Previous research from the group showed that about 20 to 30 percent of triple-negative breast cancers have lost the retinoblastoma (RB) tumor suppressor. Drs. Witkiewicz and Knudsen hypothesized that loss of this tumor

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