Scientists discover new way to ‘shut down’ breast cancer genes to curb cancer growth and spread

A new study details a potential breakthrough in breast cancer research involving what scientists call a genetic “switch.” The study, from Tulane University, found the most aggressive breast cancer, as well as a way to “turn off” the gene to inhibit the growth and spread of the cancer.

Scientists discover new way to 'shut down' breast cancer genes to curb cancer growth and spread

The study focused on triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is described as the most aggressive form of breast cancer, which is more difficult to treat and has a lower chance of survival. The researchers looked at the role of two specific genes in TNBC, known as Rab27a and TRAF3IP2. When the researchers suppressed the — meant they prevented the two genes from working— they found a positive effect on breast cancer.

When the TRAF3IP2 gene was “turned off,” the researchers found that within a full year of treatment, the metastasis of breast cancer – that is, the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body – did not occur. Similarly, the inhibition of this gene is also associated with tumor growth stagnation and tumor reduction to “the level detected by the method.”

It is worth noting that these effects were observed in animal models, not in humans. However, the results were described as “so convincing” that researchers have applied to the FDA to pave the way for clinical trials.

Dr Reza Izadpanah, head of the research team, said:

Our results suggest that both genes play a role in the growth and metastasis of breast cancer. Although targeting Rab27a can slow tumor growth, it does not affect the spread, or micro-metastasis, of a small number of cancer cells. Instead, targetTRAF3IP2 inhibits tumor growth and spread, interfering with it to reduce the tumor that has formed and prevent additional spread. This exciting discovery reveals that TRAF3IP2 can play a role as a new therapeutic target in breast cancer treatment.

Scientists discover new way to 'shut down' breast cancer genes to curb cancer growth and spread