Terminal breast cancer could be wiped out by tweaking an EXISTING treatment, ‘astonishing’ study declares
- Cancer is curable within the breast but harder to treat once it spreads
- Scientists have developed a new way of releasing chemotherapy drugs
- Technique allows them to hone in on hard-to-treat tumours in the body
- If successful it could extend a woman’s life from 6 months to 24 years
Terminal breast cancer has been wiped out, in ‘astounding’ research that raises hope of a cure for thousands of women with the disease. In tests on mice, their cancer vanished completely for at least eight months. This is the equivalent of 24 years for a woman and would be judged a lasting cure. In contrast, current treatments extend life by as little as six months. The US researchers said that even if even only partly as successful in people, it could transform the treatment of cancer. Mauro Ferrari, president of the Houston Methodist Research Institute, said: ‘I would never want to over-promise to the thousands of patients looking for a cure but the data is astounding.’ However, British experts cautioned that what works in the lab doesn’t always help real patients and said much more research is needed.
Mouse tests showed the cancer vanished completely for at least 8 months. This is the equivalent of 24 years for a woman – a ‘lasting cure’ say Houston Methodist Research Institute experts.
Dr Ferrari’s focus is metastatic cancer, or cancer that has spread from the breast to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver or bones. While the initial tumour that appears on a woman’s breast rarely kills, once the disease starts to eat away at other parts of the body it becomes incurable. Drugs struggle to get to tumours hidden deep in the lungs or liver and once there, they risk being pumped out by cells that have become resistant to treatment. Dr Ferrari, of the Houston Medical Research Institute, has found an ingenious way of getting round these defences – and so of potentially curing metastatic cancer.
Cure? In tests on mice, their cancer vanished completely for at least eight months. This is the equivalent of 24 years for a woman and would be judged a lasting cure for breast cancer
He has taken a widely-used cancer drug called doxorubicin and packed it in microscopic discs made of silicon. The silicon packaging hides the drug from the cancer, allowing it to sneak into its cells.Once inside, the silicon is broken down, releasing the drug, which is in an inactive form. The drug then moves out of reach of the pumps that are poised to eject it and towards the very heart of cell. Once there, the drug is activated and the cell is killed. In tests on mice with terminal disease, all the animals given conventional treatment died.