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New anti-cancer agents poised to be used in combination with chemotherapy

A new variety of anti-cancer agents made breast cancer news by showing promise when combined with chemotherapy to fight even the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute recently finished a study on ABT-737, a new class of anti-cancer agents that target and eliminate specific proteins in cancer cells. ABT-737 proved to be effective even when facing triple negative breast cancer, typically one of the most aggressive and life-threatening forms of the disease.

Dr. Geoff Lindeman, one of the lead researchers in the study, said "ABT-737 targets proteins from the Bcl-2 family, which are found at high levels in up to 70 percent of breast cancers. We have shown that breast tumors that have high levels of Bcl-2 respond well to treatment with ABT-737 when used in combination with a conventional chemotherapy drug."

Chemotherapy treatment is given to women in a variety of instances, according to the American Cancer Society. Adjuvant chemotherapy is given to patients who have had all visible cancerous spots surgically removed to kill any lingering cancer cells. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given before surgery, and the treatment is also sometimes used in advanced cases where the breast cancer has spread beyond the breasts and underarms.
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