[MOL] An antibody designed to prevent the spread of breast cancer to bon [01008] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] An antibody designed to prevent the spread of breast cancer to bone.....

Monday 31 January 2000

                 Melbourne researchers have developed an antibody
                 designed to prevent the spread of breast cancer to
                 bones, offering hope of improved survival rates from a
                 disease that kills 2000 Australian women a year.

                 Trials of the antibody are due to begin in the United
                 States and Japan later this year.

                 If successful, the trials could lead to women who are
                 diagnosed with breast cancer routinely receiving
                 pre-emptive treatment to stop the disease spreading to
                 their bones.

                 Seventy per cent of breast cancers that are left
                 untreated invade bone tissue, causing the bones to
                 dissolve and even break, according to Dr Matthew
                 Gillespie, an associate director at the St Vincent's
                 Institute of Medical Research.

                 He said that once breast cancers formed tumors in
                 bone, they significantly reduced a patient's chances of
                 survival. If the antibody trials succeeded, he said breast
                 cancer patients could in future expect to live longer.

                 Dr Gillespie said researchers at the institute had spent
                 about 10 years trying to work out how and why breast
                 cancer cells can grow in bone.

                 In October they published a paper in the journal
                 Endocrinology outlining how breast cancers invaded
                 bone and formed tumors.

                 The paper, co-written by researchers from the
                 University of Melbourne's department of medicine and
                 the University of Texas Health Science Centre,
                 contradicted previous research suggesting breast
                 cancers were directly responsible for degrading bone.

                 Rather, the new research showed that a protein
                 produced by breast cancers - PTHrP - was the source
                 of the problem.

                 The St Vincent's research team subsequently
                 developed the antibody with the aim of stopping the
                 protein from activating bone-degrading cells.

                 The antibody has already been successfully tested on
                 rodents. A Japanese company, the Chugai
                 Pharmaceutical Company, has adapted the antibody for
                 use in humans.


Warmly, lillian
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