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New drugs target hard-to-treat breast cancers

May 31, 2009

By Deena Beasley

ORLANDO, Fla., (Reuters) - Drugs targeting an enzyme known as PARP show promise as treatments for some of the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat forms of breast cancer, according to new research.

Mid-stage results from a PARP inhibitor developed by BiPar Sciences Inc show that it improved survival by 60 percent compared with chemotherapy alone for women with “triple negative breast cancer.”

And a small trial of AstraZeneca Plc’s (AZN.L) olaparib in women with advanced breast cancer linked to genetic mutations showed that it shrank tumors in a third of patients.

Ginger Helps Reduce Nausea from Chemotherapy

May 19, 2009

By National Cancer Institute

Ginger helped prevent or reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea when taken with traditional anti-nausea drugs by patients with cancer, researchers have found. The results are from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, the largest study to examine the potential effects of ginger on chemotherapy-related nausea. The study will be presented May 30 at the ASCO annual meeting in Orlando, FL.

Genes Help Breast Cancer Cells Invade the Brain

May 18, 2009

By National Institute of Health

Scientists have identified 3 genes that help breast cancer cells gain access and take root in the brain. The finding points to potential new strategies for blocking the often-deadly spread of cancer to the brain and other parts of the body.

About 90% of all cancer deaths are caused by metastatic cancer, when tumor cells break away from their original location and invade healthy tissues elsewhere. When breast cancer metastasizes, it often settles in the bones, lungs, liver or brain

Junghans named PI in $5.9 million breast cancer grant

May 14, 2009

By Gina DiGravio, Boston University Medical Center

Richard Junghans, MD, associate professor of surgery at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Chief of Surgical Research was named principal investigator of a grant to research how breast cancer patients’ own cells can be modified to fight their disease. Junghans along with colleagues at Roger Williams Medical Center received the $5.9 million Impact Award, from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program.

Junghans is at the forefront of research that aims to redirect the immune systems of cancer patients to fight their cancers. This is done by using gene therapy techniques to modify the patients’ own T cells to create “designer T cells”. As part of the research, a coordinated series of clinical trials and laboratory research activities is planned with the focus of curing metastatic breast cancers via this emerging technology.