Tags: Cancer | cancer | off | switch | breast | cancer

Scientists Find 'Off Switch' for Aggressive Breast Cancers

By    |   Friday, 27 March 2015 02:20 PM

Australian researchers have discovered a genetic “on-off switch” for a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer — a finding that could lead to new and better life-saving treatments.

The switch is linked to so-called “triple-negative breast cancers” — two distinct diseases that likely originate from different cell types. Identifying the gene that drives the aggressive form of the disease may explain why survival prospects for women with breast tend to be either very good or very bad and points the way to develop a treatment to “switch it off,” the researchers said.

Two doctors from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research who spearheaded the research found that the aggressive form of triple-negative breast cancer appears to arise from stem cells, while the more benign form appears to arise from specialized cells. They also found that a gene known as ID4 (short for “inhibitor of differentiation 4”) appears to control the highly aggressive form of breast cancer.

"We found that ID4 is produced at high levels in roughly half of all triple negative breast cancers, and that these cancers have a particularly poor prognosis," said Alex Swarbrick, M.D., who helped lead the study, published online in the journal Nature Communications. "We also showed that if you block the ID4 gene in experimental models of triple negative breast cancer, the tumor cells stop dividing."

The researchers said they will now study the biochemistry of ID4 in a cell in an effort to determine how best to block it in people.

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Scientists have discovered a genetic 'on-off switch' for a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer - a finding that could lead to new and better life-saving treatments.
cancer, off, switch, breast, cancer
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2015-20-27
Friday, 27 March 2015 02:20 PM
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