Potential drug treatment for aggressive breast cancer identified

Scientists have identified a molecule vital to the growth of so-called ‘triple-negative’ breast cancers.

It is hoped that this will lead to the development of new drug treatments for patients who are resistant to chemotherapy.

The researchers from the UK’s King’s College London and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London have identified the role of PIM1, a molecule that drives and controls triple-negative breast cancers.

Roughly 15 per cent of all breast cancers are triple negative, with around 7,500 women in the UK being diagnosed each year. They are more common among younger women, and can sometimes be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer.

Professor Andrew Tutt, director of the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre at the ICR, said: “It is early days but as PIM1-inhibitor drugs have already been discovered they may give us a new way to hit these cancer genes.

“The hope would be that these drugs could strip triple-negative breast cancers of their defences so that they can be pushed over the cliff by other breast cancer treatments.”