Woman Checking Her Breasts for Early Sign of Cancer Photo: MedicalNewsToday

New discovery could help to slow spread of breast cancer ─Study

*Researchers have identified a gene responsible for the rapid progression of breast cancer in patients

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Researchers from the University of Virginia Cancer Center United States (US) in fresh study have found a way to potentially slow the spread of breast cancer.

Some of the most serious cases of breast cancer are those that become metastatic, which means that cancerous cells have travelled to other parts of the body.

According to the researchers in the new study, the finding identified the gene responsible for metastatic breast cancer ─ TRIM37 ─ and learned that it could make tumours resistant to traditional treatments like chemotherapy.

Sanchita Bhatnagar, PhD, one of the researchers, said: “Despite metastasis being the key reason for failure of cancer therapies, it remains poorly understood.

“We do not clearly understand what drives the metastatic growth in patients. In general, several genes are altered during tumorigenesis.

“However, whether targeting the same genes will prevent metastatic transition remains to be addressed.”

On ways to prevent cancer cells from spreading, the study revealed that the majority of breast cancer patients are typically treated using a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

However, once a tumour becomes metastatic, these treatments are unsuccessful, it noted.

Dr. Bhatnagar and her team set out to discover how they could specifically target the TRIM37 gene and ultimately give patients a viable treatment option.

The researcher conducted her study on mice and used a combination of nanoparticles and antibodies that were designed to block the cancerous cells and allow healthy cells to flourish.

“It’s a kiss of death that selectively reduces the expression of TRIM37 in cancer cells and prevents the spread,” said the expert.

The scientists decided to target the mice’s lungs with the nanoparticle treatment, as it is the site of the majority of metastatic tumors for breast cancer patients.

The treatment was delivered nasally, and the researchers monitored the mice’s lungs to see how effective this intervention was at slowing the spread of cancerous cells. Ultimately, the researchers observed significant improvements in the mice that were given the nanoparticle treatment, according to the study finding.

She stated: “The lungs showed dramatic reduction in metastatic lesions after the treatment in comparison to the mice that received no treatment.”

While the researchers plan to continue developing this work, they predict that targeting the TRIM37 gene in this way could be an effective treatment option for nearly 80 percent of those with triple negative breast cancer.

They also noted that this could be an effective way to treat other types of cancer.

“This is a delivery platform, not only for targeting our protein of interest, but for many other chemotherapeutic drugs that can be packaged into the nanoparticles and selectively delivered,” noted Dr. Bhatnagar.

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