Months or years after the original diagnosis and treatment, cancer cells can break away and ‘metastasise’ from the original tumour in the breast, travelling to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system.
Research into metastatic breast cancer has been limited in the past, leaving these women with few options other than more surgery, radiation and non-specific treatments.
However, a new enzyme-focused treatment is currently proving successful in certain cases. It targets enzymes which are important in cell division and can interrupt and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. When used in combination with hormone therapy, it can extend survival in patients who previously failed standard endocrine treatment.
Breast and Endocrine Surgeon, Professor Arnie Hill who is also Chairman of Breast Cancer Ireland is seeing positive results of this new enzyme focused treatment in selected patients. He is working closely with the Endocrine Oncology Research Group, based in the BCI labs of the RSCI, headed up by professor Leonie Young.
Earlier this year BCI initiated a collaboration with one of the best and most progressive breast research centres in the US; The Ludwig Breast Cancer Centre at the University of Chicago, to facilitate an international collaborative research programme into metastatic disease.
This will see labs in Dublin and Chicago working together and with monies raised through the Great Pink Run with Glanbia, this research can be extended and enhanced.