A recent pre-clinical study conducted by the University of Adelaide has identified a potential breakthrough in the treatment of the most aggressive form of breast cancer. Triple negative breast cancer affects thousands of women worldwide each year, and currently, there is no specific treatment available for this type of cancer. However, the study found that a newly developed drug effectively inhibits the growth of triple negative breast cancer cells without any toxic side effects.
Associate Professor Theresa Hickey, an internationally recognized breast cancer expert at the University of Adelaide’s Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories, expressed excitement about this development. She noted that triple negative breast cancer is known for its aggressive nature, and current treatment options are limited to chemotherapy and, in some cases, immunotherapy. The findings from this study suggest that the new drug could significantly improve survival rates for patients with triple negative breast cancer.
The drug in question is designed to be taken orally and targets a specific protein called CDK9, which is responsible for speeding up cell growth in cancerous tumors. By inhibiting this protein, the drug effectively halts the progression of the disease.
During the pre-clinical study, the drug successfully prevented the multiplication of tumor cells without affecting the normal breast tissue cells taken from patients. Although it is still in the early stages of development, the evidence thus far suggests that inhibiting CDK9 could be a viable treatment option for triple negative breast cancer. Associate Professor Hickey emphasizes the need for further development of this drug to explore its potential.
The study was a collaborative effort between the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia. Professor Shudong Wang, who developed the drug (CDDD11-8) for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia, expressed enthusiasm about its potential in treating triple negative breast cancer.
In Australia, approximately 2,500 women are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer each year. This type of breast cancer is more common in younger women and has a higher rate of relapse and mortality within five years compared to other forms of breast cancer.
Moving forward, the researchers aim to identify biomarkers that can predict the response to the inhibitor drug, enabling the selection of suitable patients for future trials. While the drug is showing promise as a potential treatment for triple negative breast cancer, further development is necessary before it can progress to human trials. Associate Professor Hickey remains hopeful that this could be achieved within the next five years.
In addition to triple negative breast cancer, researchers also plan to explore the drug’s potential in treating other types of breast cancer. Associate Professor Hickey underlines the importance of continually searching for and evaluating targeted therapies for this aggressive disease to improve outcomes for all breast cancer patients.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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