Over 2,800 women died of breast cancer in Australia in 2010. Despite advances in targeted drugs, failure of cancer cells to respond to treatment, metastasis of tumour cells and drug resistance are the major cause of cancer related deaths. Over the past 2 decades the majority of research in breast cancer has focussed on developing drugs that 'turn off' proteins that are in high abundance, or are overactivated, in breast cancer cells, resulting in a significant improvements for some breast cancer patients. However, many patients develop resistance to these 'targeted' therapies. Thus a novel approach is required in order to improve the survival for these patients. Rather than targeting a protein that is abundant or over-active, the researchers will take the complete opposite approach, by turning on a protein that is inactive. Successful results from this study could lead directly to clinical trials of these exciting new drugs in breast cancer patients, with the ultimate goal of improving the survival of breast cancer patients.
Testing a new treatment strategy for breast cancer - turning proteins "on" that improve patient survival