New breast cancer drug unveiled

FroM: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/manchester/7021504.stm

Oct 01, 2007

New ways to control and treat breast cancer have been unveiled at a national medical conference by scientists at the University of Manchester.

Researchers at the university have discovered that a drug used to treat Alzheimer's patients could help prevent breast cancer from recurring.

The drug is known to attack the Notch gene which stimulates cancer cells.

A third of women successfully treated for breast cancer find the disease recurs because some cells survive.

The team of scientists, led by Dr Robert Clarke, hopes that if the Alzheimer's drug, which is a class of gamma secretase inhibitor, is used to combat breast cancer recurring, its clinical trial would be speeded up because it has already gone through health and safety checks for dementia treatment.

'Tremendously exciting'

Dr Clarke said: "Our work has revealed the importance of several pathways not previously known to regulate stem cell survival and self-renewal, which is tremendously exciting."

The revelations have been announced at the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Birmingham.

They come just a week after the University of Bolton's Centre for Research and Innovation (CMRI) announced it was creating a special bra which will allow users to detect early stage breast cancer.

The university hopes to see the life-saving underwear go into production in the next two years.

It has a microwave antennae system device woven into it which picks up abnormal temperature changes in breast tissue that are associated with cancer cells.