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New drug could help one in five breast cancers

16/03/2017

New drug could help one in five breast cancersA new type of breast cancer treatment could help up to 10,000 women in the UK, according to scientists.

Historically, biological therapies have been used to help fight rare, inherited genetic errors which can lead to cancer, such as the BRCA one actress Angelina Jolie carries.

However, a new study has found that such therapies could also help women diagnosed with breast cancer who do not have these genetic errors.

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute study suggests that such therapies could be effective in one in five breast cancers (20%). For comparison, the number of women who develop cancer and have faulty BRCA genes is 1 to 5%.

For the study, the researchers analysed the genetic make-up of breast cancer in 560 different patients. They found that a significant proportion had "mutational signatures" that were very similar to faulty BRCA. Therefore, given the close similarities, these cancers could also potentially be treated with biological therapies.

Clinical trials are now being called for to confirm the researchers' theory.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, from Breast Cancer Now, said the initial results were "a revelation".

"We hope it could now lead to a watershed moment for the use of mutational signatures in treating the disease," she said.

Regular exercise, a healthy diet, avoiding cigarettes, limiting alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight can all help to reduce a woman's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
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