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Drug has potential to treat triple negative breast cancer

Image credit: Anne Weston, Francis Crick Institute

28th January 2021 about a 2 minute read
“Our findings were only possible because we used an innovative model, involving the growth of 3D ‘mini tumours’ in the lab, to more closely reflect how tumours develop in the body.” Dr Rachael Natrajan, Institute of Cancer Research

A new study, published in the Cancer Research journal, has found that an already approved breast cancer drug has the potential to also be used to treat about a fifth of people living with triple negative breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Now-funded researchers identified that palbociclib, which is currently used to treat other breast cancers that have spread to a different part of the body, could help women who have an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Being an already licensed drug means that palbociclib can be quickly progressed into clinical trials for triple negative breast cancer.

“Hugely exciting”

Dr Simon Vincent, Director of Research, Support and Influencing at Breast Cancer Now, said it was “hugely exciting” that research has uncovered a new possible use for palbociclib as a targeted treatment for some women living with triple negative breast cancer.

“Each year, around 8,000 UK women are diagnosed with this aggressive form of breast cancer and we desperately need new, effective ways to treat them and stop them dying from this devastating disease. 

“We hope that if clinical trials confirm that palbociclib is beneficial for some of these women, it will be advanced through the approval process and made available for those who need it as quickly as possible.”

Dr Rachael Natrajan, Team Leader in Functional Genomics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, added:

“Our findings were only possible because we used an innovative model, involving the growth of 3D ‘mini tumours’ in the lab, to more closely reflect how tumours develop in the body.”