Boston University scientists have come up with a new way to detect – and potentially treat – one of the deadliest types of breast cancer.
In a new study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, researchers identified a new biomarker for a basal-like breast cancer (BLBC) – an aggressive form of the disease often referred to as "triple negative," because it is not responsive to chemotherapy.
That makes BLBC is more life-threatening because it is more likely to spread to different areas of the body quicker and earlier.
The new identified a biomarker on the surface of breast tumors in women with BLBC – a molecule named IL13RA2 (IL13R alpha2). When the researchers reduced the amount of IL13RA2 – through genetic techniques -- they found that the tumor growth was significantly slower.
"This discovery offers a glimmer of hope for patients stricken with BLBC. Personalized cancer therapies could be developed by targeting breast cancer cells that express copious levels of IL13RA2," said Sam Thiagalingam, PhD, associate professor of genetics at Boston University School of Medicine.
The researchers said the technique might also prove effective against other deadly cancers, including brain, pancreatic, ovarian, and colon cancers.
"Studies directed at this biomarker will be of high significance to improve the quality of life of all cancer patients harboring this alteration," added Thiagalingam.
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