Tuesday, 7 January 2014

New Breast Cancer Treatment

Researchers in the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have discovered a new way of treating breast caner. It partially reverses the cancerous state in cultured breast cancer cells. It has stopped cancer development in mice.

Women now are increasingly undergoing tests to detect cancer. Sometimes they discover precancerous breast tissues and undergo surgeries that are in certain cases unneeded as doctors at that stage cannot tell if those tissues will develop into breast cancer.

A research result might change this.

At the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, researchers have unraveled a new treatment that "reverses the cancerous state in cultured breast tumor cells and prevents cancer development in mice." The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The significance of this discovery is that it could make it possible to treat breast cancer in early stages without need for surgery. According to Don Ingber, founding director of Wyss Institute:

"The findings open up the possibility of someday treating patients who have a genetic propensity for cancer, which could change people's lives and alleviate great anxiety,"

The scientific bases of this discovery is as follows:

1- "Amy Brock, a former Wyss Institute post-doctoral fellow, grew healthy mouse or human mammary-gland cells in a nutrient-rich, tissue-friendly gel.

2- Healthy cells ensconced in the gel formed hollow spheres of cells akin to a normal milk duct. But cancerous cells, in contrast, packed together into solid, tumour-like spheres.
Brock treated these cancerous cells with a short piece of RNA called a small interfering RNA (siRNA) that blocks only the HoxA1 gene, said the study.

3- The cells reversed their march to malignancy, stopping their runaway growth and forming hollow balls as healthy cells do. What's more, they specialised as if they were growing in healthy tissue.
The siRNA treatment also stopped breast cancer in a line of mice genetically engineered to have a gene that causes all of them to develop cancer."



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