A chemical ingredient similar to the one used in cleaning products may be an effective weapon in treating breast cancer, a new study conducted by Australian researchers reveals.
Researchers at Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research have found that bisphosphonates, which are similar to chemicals used as water softeners in soap powders and detergents, can be used to target tumor cells present in breast tissue. Bisphosphonates are already used in treating conditions that affect the bones, including late-stage cancers that have spread to bone.
While there have been doubts whether the chemicals can reach tumors other than bone cancers, the researchers have made use of imaging technology to show how they can be effectively used in treating breast cancer, with a number of trials showing that the drugs can help prolong the survival period of the patients.
"This study is potentially transformative for treatment of some cancers, because it is telling us for the first time that drugs we thought acted only in bone can also act within tumors completely outside the skeleton", lead researcher Professor Mike Rogers said.