Hormone-fueled breast cancer cells halted with new approach

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

From: medicalnewstoday.com

Researchers have found a way to deplete breast cancer cells of energy and thus halt their growth. The findings may one day help to alleviate treatment-resistant breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), around 2 in 3 cancers are hormone-driven.

This means that the breast cancer cells possess proteins that act as hormone receptors and feed off of estrogen or progesterone.

These hormones help the breast cancer to spread, so hormone therapy aims to prevent cancer from spreading or recurring by blocking the hormone receptors.

However, these hormone-blocking drugs often have a wide array of side effects or are not fully effective because the cancer finds new ways to spread or becomes resistant to treatment.

But now, new research — carried out by scientists from the Karolinska Institutet and Science for Life Laboratory in Solna, Sweden — offers new hope, as the team discovered a way to starve hormone-fueled breast cancer cells of energy. This may lead to better drugs in the future.

The researchers — led by Prof. Thomas Helleday, of the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Karolinska Institutet — found a protein that helps breast cancer cells to get the energy they need to proliferate. They also found a compound that inhibits this protein.

Brent D.G. Page and Nicholas C.K. Valerie, of the Science for Life Laboratory at Karolinska, are the first authors of the new study, which was published in the journal Nature Communications.