A novel discovery by researchers from Edinburgh University is promising for women suffering from a common form of breast cancer.
The researchers looked at the role of genetics in the type of the disease known as HER2 positive breast cancer, reports the Scotsman.
For the first time, they were able to identify the key role played by a specific gene in helping the cancer to spread to other parts of the body.
According to the researchers, the findings will help in the development of new drugs, which will benefit women whose cancers become resistant to other treatments.
The gene studied by the researchers is called C35. The gene becomes overactive in HER2 positive tumours.
The scientists said what makes the discovery even more exciting is that there are drugs in development, which could potentially kill cancer cells that rely on this gene.
The trial treatments do this by disabling a protein linked to the gene, which stops it from working.
Experts believe this type of drug would therefore be a new treatment for HER2 positive breast cancer and save the lives of women with this type of the disease.
The study has been published in the British Journal of Cancer.