Spanish scientist makes breakthrough in fight against breast cancer

New Discovery in the fight against breast cancer

According to a study published in the scientific magazine Nature carried out by the research team led by Joan Massagué in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Centre, New York there has been a significant discovery on how breast cancer spreads to other organs in the body.

Breast cancer kills around 5000 women every year in Spain and this new development could be a way of controlling the disease. The spread of cancer to other organs is the principal cause of death for those suffering from this disease.

The results of the study carried out by Joan Massagué and his team in New York discovered that 3 ARN molecules are involved in preventing breast cancer spreading to the lungs and bones.

The research found that most aggressive and invasive cancers lack 3 key microARN molecules: miR-335, miR-126 and miR-206. According to the study when researchers introduced these molecules into rats who had breast cancer the tumours lost their capacity to spread to other organs.

Massagué, explained that microARN molecules stop cancer spreading because they interfere with cancerous cells and prevent them from migrating or proliferating. However, he also expressed caution regarding this discovery and how it can be applied to humans in the near future.

It is believed that microARN molecules regulate genetic activity. Following tests on rats levels of microARN cells were measured in 20 patients suffering from breast cancer. Lower levels of this molecule were discovered in those patients whose cancer had spread to other organs.