Brits Discover Breast Cancer Vaccine

by Dr. Reeja Tharu on  February 29, 2008 at 1:23 PM Breaking News
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British scientists claim to have developed a drug with the potential to 'vaccinate' those with a family history of breast cancer.
Brits Discover Breast Cancer Vaccine
Brits Discover Breast Cancer Vaccine

If the drug is administered regularly to individuals who have a family history of the cancer, experts say it could, in effect, 'vaccinate' them against the disease.

A mutation in the BRCA gene is known to be the causative factor in 2,000 of the 44,000 UK breast cancer cases, every year. This flawed gene may be inherited from both sides of a family. Women who have inherited this altered gene are 85 per cent more prone to develop the disease, which is eight times that of an average woman.

At present, a large percentage of women who have inherited the 'rogue' gene, choose to undergo a mastectomy, as a preventative measure. The innovative drug, known as AGO14699, could effectively vaccinate those with a family history, and save thousands of women the trauma of having their breasts removed.

The new drug, which belongs to a class of anti-cancer medicines called PARP inhibitors, is designed to exploit the 'Achilles' heel' in hereditary cancers. In essence it will block DNA repair in the BRCA genes and destroy their chances of multiplying.

This drug could also be free of the side effects associated with other cancer treatments such as pain, nausea and hair loss. Researchers say that the drug could also be used against other forms of cancers, including those of the prostate and the pancreas, although further research is required in that area.

'The implications for women and their families are huge because if you have the gene, there is a 50 per cent risk you will pass it on to your children. You are carrying a time bomb,' said Dr Ruth Plummer, senior lecturer in medical oncology at Newcastle University.

The drug is presently under trial on patients in Newcastle. Researchers who pioneered the drug are of the opinion that it could be made available within a decade. So keep those fingers crossed!

Source: Medindia
Dr. Reeja Tharu/L

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That is great news for future brac1 or brac2
Please note that brac1 or 2 can be equally passed down from your father's side of the family as well as your mother's.


very interesting, i hope that they come up with some cures for other cancers, and diseases.


Glad to see interest in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. But, please get the facts straight. It is a MUTATION of a gene. Not a case of "if you have the gene". Everyone has the gene! Also, the mutation can be passed from the father to the son or daughter - an important fact to keep in mind and not stressed enough. In my case, my mom and I have the mutation. If my brother has it, then his daughter has a 50/50 chance of having the mutation. This is too often not stressed by doctors who think only women are affected by the mutation of these genes.


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