Promising findings towards targeted breast cancer therapy

November 14, 2016, University College Dublin

New research led by Conway Fellow, Professor Joe Duffy and Professor John Crown in St Vincent's University Hospital has reported for the first time on a new treatment that could be used in the majority of patients with triple negative breast cancer.

This research has identified a potential new for a form of known as triple negative breast cancer and which is currently difficult to treat. This new drug treatment known as APR-246 acts by blocking a mutant gene responsible for the driving the growth of triple-negative breast cancers.

Major progress has been made in the treatment of most forms of breast cancer in recent years. However, the triple negative form still remains difficult to treat. Approximately, 250 women are diagnosed with this form of breast cancer each year in Ireland.

Currently, the only form of drug-related therapy available for these is chemotherapy. The aim of this work was to identify a therapy specifically inhibiting genes involved in the growth of these cancers.

PhD student, Naoise Synnott tested the effects of APR-246 on cancer cells grown in the laboratory. Building on the findings of this study, the team hope that this drug can be tested as part of a clinical trial in patients with triple-negative breast cancer.

"I decided to focus my BREAST-PREDICT research on triple-negative breast cancer because it was clear that work needed to be done to provide better and more targeted treatment for these patients. I hope that (our) work will be a big step in providing better treatment and hope to future triple-negative ."

Commenting on the findings, Professor Duffy, UCD Clinical Research Centre and St Vincent's University Hospital said, "If the laboratory data can be confirmed in a clinical trial, APR-246 could be the first non-chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of patients with this form of breast cancer",

Professor William Gallagher, Director of BREAST-PREDICT and UCD Conway Institute, added: "Over the last two decades, drugs such as Herceptin have been discovered to target or block proteins that are responsible for the growth of some breast cancers. However, finding a similar drug therapy for triple-negative breast cancer has so far alluded scientists, making these findings all the more important. If successful in clinical trials, APR-246 will be shown to have been effective in targeting a gene known as p53, a gene that is altered in almost all cases of triple-negative breast cancer."

A mutation of the p53 gene occurs in around 80% of these triple-negative breast cancers. Naoise and her colleagues have now shown that APR-246 can act by correcting or neutralising the mutant form of p53, which in turn stops the growth of cells grown in the laboratory.

Explore further: Discovery of potential treatment for aggressive form of breast cancer

More information: N.C. Synnott et al. Mutant p53: a novel target for the treatment of patients with triple-negative breast cancer?, International Journal of Cancer (2017). DOI: 10.1002/ijc.30425

Related Stories

Discovery of potential treatment for aggressive form of breast cancer

November 2, 2016
A new drug could be used to treat one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer, a research centre based at University College Dublin and St Vincent's Hospital has discovered.

Even low-androgen triple-negative breast cancer responds to anti-androgen therapy

February 24, 2015
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published today in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics shows that only about 1 percent of triple-negative breast cancer cells in a tumor must be "androgen-receptor-positive" ...

New compound shows potential for triple-negative breast cancer

June 8, 2016
Researchers at the University of Michigan have identified a promising new compound for targeting one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer.

Mouse study: Triple-therapy cocktail shrinks triple-negative breast tumors

May 19, 2016
In a new study using mice and lab-grown human cells, a scientific team led by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers show how a triple-drug cocktail can shrink triple-negative breast cancers by killing off cancer ...

New research provides hope for patients with hard-to-treat breast cancer

June 13, 2016
UK scientists have found a new way to slow the growth of the most aggressive type of breast cancer, according to research published in the journal Oncogene today.

Leukaemia gene provides clue to treating triple negative breast cancer

June 27, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered that a gene previously linked to leukaemia could provide an urgently needed target for the development of drugs to treat patients with 'triple negative' breast ...

Recommended for you

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

Presurgical targeted therapy delays relapse of high-risk stage 3 melanoma

January 17, 2018
A pair of targeted therapies given before and after surgery for melanoma produced at least a six-fold increase in time to progression compared to standard-of-care surgery for patients with stage 3 disease, researchers at ...

Dulling cancer therapy's double-edged sword

January 17, 2018
Researchers have discovered that killing cancer cells can actually have the unintended effect of fueling the proliferation of residual, living cancer cells, ultimately leading to aggressive tumor progression.

T-cells engineered to outsmart tumors induce clinical responses in relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma

January 16, 2018
WASHINGTON-(Jan. 16, 2018)-Tumors have come up with ingenious strategies that enable them to evade detection and destruction by the immune system. So, a research team that includes Children's National Health System clinician-researchers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.