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The Making of Medicine

Stopping Breast Cancer’s Spread and Making It More Treatable

Our Sanchita Bhatnagar, PhD, has identified a breast cancer oncogene that not only causes triple-negative breast cancer to spread but also makes it resistant to chemotherapy. She and her colleagues have developed a new approach that she and her colleagues hope could prevent both.

Blocking the effects of the gene, TRIM37, could benefit approximately 80% of triple-negative breast cancer patients, the researchers estimate. The work is still early -- it's not yet in human testing -- but the researchers are excited about its potential. They hope it can prevent or significantly delay metastasis of triple-negative breast cancer and also lower its defenses against chemotherapy.

Bhatnagar worked with our Jogender Tushir-Singh, PhD, to develop their new approach, which uses nanoparticles – microscopic balls of fat – to target TRIM37. These nanoparticles are paired with specially engineered antibodies that bind to the cancerous cells but not to healthy cells.

She hopes the approach will deliver the "kiss of death" to reduce the oncogene's expression in cancer cells. So far, tests with lab mice have offered encouraging results. β€œThe lungs showed dramatic reduction in metastatic lesions after the treatment in comparison to the mice that received no treatment,” she said.

If all goes well, the approach could be used to deliver targeted treatments for many other cancers, the researchers hope. Let's wish her and Tushir-Singh, who happens to be her husband, the best of luck and speedy progress.

I'll keep you posted.

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