Chinks in the armour!
Breakthrough Scientists create the World’s first encyclopedia of breast cancer’s weaknesses – Helping to find the chinks in breast cancer cells’ armour.
Pioneering scientists at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre (which Too Many Women are raising money for) have created the world’s first encyclopedia of genes that drive breast cancer. It is hoped that new targeted treatments leading directly from this work will be in clinical trials in the next few years.
The ground-breaking project is a big step towards forming a complete picture of the weak points in breast cancer cells. The data are now being made freely available for other scientists around the world to use, so that new targets for treatments can be found more rapidly and to encourage collaboration and co-operation in the fight against the disease.
Tumour cells have large numbers of genetic mutations, however many of these are coincidental alterations that do not contribute to the development of cancer. The scientists used the latest screening technology to look at thousands of genes in many different types of breast cancer. They then painstakingly sifted through the results to identify the genetic faults critical for the survival of each particular sub-type.
This work in the laboratory highlights the promise of these drugs and suggests which patients are likely to benefit from them. Work now has to be done to further understand the way in which these drugs work in this group of patients. Now the method has been shown a success, the scientists are continuing their work to identify all of the key genes for all breast cancer sub-types.
Study author Dr Chris Lord, from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the ICR in London, said:
“This could have huge ramifications in the fight against cancer. Creating an encyclopedia of breast cancer allows us to gain the big picture of the disease. It gives us a clear sight of the chinks in breast cancer cells’ armour. We have made this data freely available to all because we know it is only through working together that we will defeat this disease.”
Professor Alan Ashworth, Chief Executive of the ICR and co-author, said:
“We have made a big first step towards a comprehensive understanding of breast cancer and how to break down its defences. With this knowledge we can develop new targeted treatments to kill cancer cells with particular defects. This points towards a future of personalised medicine, where each patient receives the right treatment for their specific type of disease.”