Cancer treatment: Overactive gene could provide the key to treatment

2nd June 2011

Scientists have discovered a network of overactive genes which could hold the key to effective cancer treatment for millions of women around the world.

Research at the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute in Boston, US showed that one in six women has a network of genes which lead to triple-negative cancers, which do not respond to the majority of traditional treatments.

New treatments are now being developed to target these genes. They have been successful in stopping breast cancer in mice, and it is thought that they will soon be ready for testing on people.

Geneticist Dr Kornelia Polyak, from the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute in Boston, US, said: "The discovery of these targets will rapidly lead to clinical trials with the hope of achieving one of the first specific therapies for triple-negative breast cancers."

Triple-negative cancers they lack the receptors for oestrogen, progesterone and Her2, which are used in most treatments. They account for around 15 per cent of all breast cancer cases.

Posted by Philip Briggs

Anderson, S et al. " The JAK2/STAT3 signalling pathway is required for growth of CD44+CD24– stem cell–like breast cancer cells in human tumors." Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1st June 2011.

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