British scientists make ‘revolutionary’ potential breakthrough in breast cancer treatment

Scientists are reported to have made a “revolutionary” potential breakthrough in the ongoing struggle to find effective treatments for breast cancer.

Researchers have discovered a rare variant of a protein found in human cells, known as RAC1B, that experts say may play a key role in making cancer cells resistant to treatment.

Researchers at the University of Manchester believe that by targeting this protein, RAC1B, they could “significantly increase” the effectiveness of the treatment, because when this protein variant was not present in the tests, tumors did not form or cause harm to organs.

Dr Ahmet Ukar, a breast cancer research fellow at the University of Manchester, said: “For the first time, our study has shown that without RAC1B, breast cancer stem cells cannot form tumors and become more vulnerable to chemotherapy, making the treatment even more effective. Positively, RAC1B is not needed for healthy cells, so targeting RAC1B with new cancer treatments is unlikely to have major side effects.

“We hope that further research will help translate these findings into targeted therapies for breast cancer patients.”

In an experiment to demonstrate the effectiveness of a treatment without RAC1B, scientists transplanted breast cancer cells into mice, according to the Manchester Evening News. They found that cells lacking the protein variant did not develop any visible tumors after 100 days.

In addition, breast cancer cells grown in the lab without the protein variant did not recover after being created with doxorubicin, a common chemotherapy drug. However, according to the researchers, cells with the protein variant present returned quickly and reliably after treatment was stopped.

They also found that in the absence of this protein variant, tumors do not form and do not have harmful effects on organs.

Dr. Simon Vincent, Director of Research, Support and Influence at Breast Cancer Now, said: “It is amazing that a previously overlooked total protein variant could hold the key to changing the way breast cancer is treated. Early-stage discoveries like this can help provide the building blocks for future breakthroughs leading to new and effective treatments for the 55,000 women and 370 men who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK.”

The results are published in the oncology journal Oncogene.

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