OXFORD, ENGLAND: Against Breast Cancer is funding research into treatments that target secondary cancers to increase the survival rates of breast cancer patients.
Researchers at the University of Oxford are developing drugs that use an antibody to direct cell-killing viruses to cancerous cells wherever they are in the body, which would enable patients with aggressive breast cancer to receive more targeted treatment beyond chemotherapy and prevent the spread and growth of life-threatening secondary tumours.
Dr. Max Crispin, who heads the Glycoprotein Therapeutics Laboratory at the University of Oxford and is the lead researcher on this project, says: “We are developing new therapies and thanks to the support of Against Breast Cancer and their fundraisers we can apply this exciting technology to the breast cancer field.
"We hope to prove that this method is effective at killing cancerous cells without damaging non-cancerous tissue to improve treatments and disease prognosis for patients with breast cancer, and potentially for other cancer types too.”
With 1 in 8 women diagnosed nationwide, breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Despite improvement in diagnostic tools and treatment, breast cancer still claims the lives of 12,000 people a year in the UK (that’s 1000 people a month) due to secondary spread, when cancer cells break off from the original tumour and travel around the body to establish new tumours.
Secondary breast cancers (called metastases) can arise in one or more places in the body, such as the lungs, bone, liver and brain, sometimes years after the primary tumour has been treated. Secondary breast cancer is currently detected using visual methods, therefore tumours have to grow to a minimal size before they can be seen and treated meaning physical symptoms are often experienced and successful treatment is more difficult.