This article was take from: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/antibody-discovery-offers-breakthrough-in-breast-cancer-fight-a4019301.html
By Ross Lydall
Women with one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer have been offered new hope after a breakthrough by London scientists.
A team at King’s College London has found that targeted antibody therapies could bring long-awaited advances for those with “triple negative” breast cancer, which has fewer treatment options. This form of the disease accounts for 15 per cent of breast cancers.
It does not respond to hormone treatment, such as tamoxifen, or another commonly used drug, herceptin, leaving women to rely on surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Dr Simon Vincent, director of research at the charity Breast Cancer Now, which funded the study, said triple negative breast cancer was “one of the greatest areas of unmet need in breast cancer”.
He added: “This is a really important discovery. We hope this new line of attack could now lead to a long-awaited targeted therapy for patients with aggressive triple negative breast cancer. Priming the immune system to attack tumours is an exciting approach that is now beginning to show promise in breast cancer, and we hope to see new antibody immunotherapies enter trials for triple negative patients soon.”
About 7,500 women a year in the UK are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. It is so-called because of the absence of three “receptors”, or proteins, in cancer cells: those for oestrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth factor.
The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, found that triple negative cancer expresses high levels of a receptor called folate receptor alpha (FRa).
This plays a crucial role in tumour growth but can be targeted with antibody immunotherapies. Dr Sophia Karagiannis, who led the study, said: “Having identified antibodies against this novel target that are able to restrict the growth of triple negative cancer cells in the laboratory, we are now concentrating on bringing forth a new generation of more effective antibody therapy approaches.”