Research identifies active genomic pathway in resistant breast cancers
Jul 21, 2011
In breast cancer health news, a recent study of breast cancer's genomics performed by researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research found that up to 70 percent of resistant tumors had one particularly active gene: phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH).
Traditionally, breast cancer is treated with drugs like tamoxifen and various types of hormone inhibitors, but not all breast cancers are the same, and a significant percentage of cancers are not directly related to hormones, and hormone inhibition treatment is ineffective.
"This early work has identified a possible new avenue for future research into a hard-to-treat form of breast cancer," Cancer Research UK's Henry Scowcroft told the BBC, "and it will be interesting to see where it leads."
By identifying an active genetic area of the resistant tumors, researchers hope to develop drugs that will disrupt the problematic proteins and slow tumor growth in the same way tamoxifen regulates and corrects the function of estrogen receptors.
Breast cancer affects more than 200,000 women annually and kills more than 40,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. While early detection often makes breast cancer highly treatable, resistant forms of the disease dictate ever evolving forms of treatment.