Researchers discover new components in the fight against aggressive breast cancer

New discovery improves therapeutic options
So-called triple negative breast cancer (triple negative breast cancer) is one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer. The therapeutic options for the disease are extremely limited. Researchers have now found a new promising method for identifying and treating triple negative breast cancer.

The so-called triple negative breast cancer is extremely aggressive biologically and occurs preferentially in younger patients. Scientists from the University of Michigan have now found a compound that could enable this aggressive form of cancer to be treated more effectively. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Clinical Cancer Research".
The treatment of so-called triple negative breast cancer has been extremely difficult in the past. A new connection called UM-164 could now give those affected new hope. (Image: Eskymaks /

Little progress has been made in the treatment of triple negative breast cancer
The new connection is called UM-164 and targets so-called kinases. These seem to play a role in the development and spread of triple negative breast cancer, the researchers explain. The compound had very few side effects in tests with mice. The general treatment for breast cancer has made great strides. Unfortunately, this has not yet been the case for patients with triple negative breast cancer, says author Dr. Sofia Merajver from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

About 20 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses relate to triple negative breast cancer
Triple negative breast cancer is more aggressive than other types of breast cancer. Patients often experience that their cancer recurs after treatment and then begins to spread, the doctors say. There are currently no approved targeted therapies for this form of breast cancer, which represents about 20 percent of breast cancer diagnoses.

Where does the term triple negative breast cancer come from?
Triple negative breast cancer is called this because the disease is negative for two hormone receptors and the HER2 protein. These three markers are normally successfully used as a target by current treatments, the experts explain. This makes chemotherapy the only treatment option for this type of cancer, adds lead author Dr. Rabia A. Gilani from the University of Michigan added. We are in the process of gaining a better understanding of the biology of triple negative breast cancer, which is essential for the development of targeted therapies, say the doctors.

UM-164 can switch off the kinase
The research team not only tried to block the kinase, they even managed to turn it off with the help of UM-164. The reason why our connection works is that we have a new mechanism for binding the kinase, the scientists explain. We were able to completely remove the harmful c-Src protein from the cells. Usually, only its activity is inhibited, says Dr. Matthew B. Söllner from the University of Michigan.

UM-164 inhibits important signal path
In addition, UM-164 inhibits another signaling pathway that is involved in the development of triple negative breast cancer. By combining an existing c-Src inhibitor with a p38 inhibitor, the effects became more efficient. They work much better together than they do individually, says Söllner. With our connection, the results were even stronger than with the existing drugs, the doctor adds.

Drug causes few side effects and is still effective
The researchers also found that they could administer the drug to mice at a higher dose that was effective against cancer. But that caused some side effects. More research is needed to understand the safety profile of UM-164, doctors add. (as)

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