Promising step forward for triple negative breast cancer treatment

Triple Negative Breast CancerCancer researchers in the UK have linked an overactive gene to a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer called “triple negative” breast cancer.

The team, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge, identified the gene called BCL11A as especially active in triple negative breast cancer, raising hope for those affected by this cancer type.

Prognosis for triple negative cancers is generally poorer than for other forms as there is limited knowledge of the distinct genetic properties of the disease, making the development of new treatments difficult.

Generally, therapies used in treating other breast cancer types, like tamoxifen, do not work on this type of cancer because triple negative tumour cells lack three of the different ‘receptor’ molecules that are targeted by the treatments.

Most triple-negative breast cancer tumours are of a genetic type called ‘basal-like’. BCL11A was found to be overactive in tumour samples from around eight in 10 patients with the ‘basal-like’ disease.

Dr Pentao Liu, senior author on the study, said BCL11A activity stood out as being particularly active in samples from triple negative cancers.

Dr Walid Khaled, co-author on the study said, “Our studies in human cells clearly marked BCL11A as a novel driver for triple-negative breast cancers.”

This discovery builds on researchers’ work to develop a broader understanding of breast cancer which will inform clinical decisions, treatment choices and finding new therapies.

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New surgical tool to improve accuracy in both diagnosis and treatment!

In an exciting development towards more accurate cancer surgery and tumour diagnosis, a surgical knife that tells the difference between healthy and cancerous tissue is being trialled in the UK.

Surgeons from the Imperial College London have used this incredible piece of technology (called the iKnife) to analyse the vapour that is given off when electrical currents cut away tissue during surgery.

The tool uses mass spectrometry to identify chemicals present in the tissue and then it reports, within 3 seconds, what the target tissue contains.

Continue reading “New surgical tool to improve accuracy in both diagnosis and treatment!”

Breast cancer study set to revolutionise diagnosis and treatment for patients

Researchers from the UK have “re-written the rulebook” * on breast cancer research with what is being called a ‘landmark’ study.

They have reclassified the disease into ten categories, where formerly it was understood there were four, based on the genetic fingerprints of breast cancer tumours from 2,000 women in the UK and Canada.

The implications of this study are significant: Women with breast cancer can now be identified as having a more specific disease – one of ten under the breast cancer “umbrella” – and their prognosis, and subsequent treatment options will be better defined as a result. Continue reading “Breast cancer study set to revolutionise diagnosis and treatment for patients”

100km for cancer research

Tony Barrett‘s life has been touched by cancer in many ways, and he decided to compete in the Otway Odyssey Mountain Bike Marathon and raise funds for cancer research. He chose to support both the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and Cancer Research UK for friends and family across both countries to contribute towards a cure for cancer.

Tony’s mother was battling a rare form of cancer and a few weeks before the race she fell quite ill. Tony returned to the UK to be with his mother and subsequently missed the race. Sadly his mother passed away at the end of February, and inspired to honour her and honour the generous sponsorship he had already received from family and friends to compete in the race, Tony chose to ride his own 100km ride and film it to show all his supporters! Continue reading “100km for cancer research”