NEW treatments for breast cancer could become a reality after scientists in Essex made a breakthrough thanks to a study into the disease.
The researchers screened cancerous and non-cancerous breast samples for the presence of one particular protein called CTCF.
Senior research fellow Dr France Docquier from the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity laboratory, said: We have discovered there are two different types of CTCF: a good CTCF found in healthy breast tissues and a bad CTCF found in cancerous breast tissues.
The teams findings paved the way to the front page of the top oncology journal Clinical Cancer Research (September issue) and holds hope for future treatment of the disease.
Dr Docquier explained: The study indicates the two versions of the protein perform different functions in normal and cancerous breast cells. We showed that the bad protein helps the breast cells to grow, but when cells stop growing the good protein is present. Our findings are very exciting as they could result in a change in how breast cancer is treated in future years. New therapies could be developed to re-establish the good protein, potentially resulting in the cancer cells becoming more like normal cells.
The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity laboratory worked in collaboration with the University of Essex and the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease, University College London, Institute of Neurology on this project, which was funded by the Breast Cancer Campaign and the Breast Cancer Research Trust.
Helen Rollason Cancer Charity manager Nicola Douglas said: This is fantastic news the study has uncovered some fresh details on breast cancer which may offer patients access to new treatment options in the future.
As a charity we are very pleased to know the contributions we receive from the community have resulted in a breast cancer breakthrough. It truly is an exciting time in the world of cancer research and treatment development and the charity is committed to joint-fund its cancer research laboratory with Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, Essex.
The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity funds vital research into the disease thanks to funding from the public. The charity marks its 10th anniversary this year of funding important research into the disease and providing cancer support centres for patients and their families.
Breast cancer patient Karen Travis, who has had some of her cancerous samples tested at the laboratory, said: Its great to know that the outcome of this study could lead to new ways to treat breast cancer. Anything the lab does is great and this is truly groundbreaking and a very positive story for those living with cancer.
The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity lab in Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, Essex, will be holding an open day on January 20, 2010 from 10am 4pm. The public is welcome to attend the open day to find out more about the laboratory and the charity.
Press contact: PR Officer – Melissa Matthews 01245 514700
Notes to Editors:
The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity has four cancer support centres: two in Chelmsford, Essex; one in North Middlesex Hospital, London; and another in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, offering support to cancer patients along with their carers, family and friends.
The support centres offer counselling and a range of complementary therapies including reflexology, aromatherapy, counselling, massage and Manual Lymph Drainage.
The charity has a research laboratory at Anglia Ruskin University undertaking world-class research a new potential biomarker and investigating whether we can predict responses to chemotherapy.
There is also a team of research nurses caring for cancer patients on clinical drug trials offered by the charity.
The charity has 11 retail shops in Hertfordshire, Essex and London and aims to extend its recently launched cancer support groups.
The charity, named after the first woman to present Grandstand, BBC Sports Helen Rollason MBE, marked its 10th anniversary of Helens involvement throughout 2009.
The BBC sport journalist gave her name and image to the charity, before she died of cancer in 1999, in a bid to attract national and international support.
She shared the vision of her oncologist, Professor Neville Davidson, that people should be treated as a whole and not just their illness.
She said: "Good quality of life while coping with cancer is the most important gift a sick person can receive; it should be available to everyone."
The charity receives limited funding, but relies solely on funding from the community and is aiming to make an extra special effort in fundraising in 2009 and is welcoming more people to get involved.
Registered Charity No. 1052861
Patron: Lord Coe KBE