A new protein that spreads breast cancer has been identified by a team of researchers in Australia.
Researchers at Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research have found that the protein that drives milk production in pregnancy can also cause breast cancer to worsen or spread to the lungs.
The protein called Elf5 produces inflammation of breast tumors and then tricks the immune system to help the cancer cells to metastasize and finally these cells are leaked into the bloodstream and lungs.
‘Australian researchers have identified a protein called Elf5 which can cause breast cancer to worsen or spread to the lungs.’
"Elf5 can be applied to any of the other organs where the breast cancer spreads normally. So Elf5 is actually a biomarker that predicts for early relapse which is when the patient worsens very quickly," said Dr. Gallego-Ortega.
He also said that Elf5 was not just limited to the spread of cancer to the lungs as the protein can go rogue cause breast cancer. This discovery will pave the way for new therapies and treatments for patients.
"We can now target those patients that present higher levels of Elf5 and use anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the inflammation which is helping the cancer cells to spread," he added.