Around 10,000 British Women to Benefit From New Breast Cancer Treatment

Scientists suggests that approximately 10,000 women may benefit annually from a new type of breast cancer treatment that may become available in Britain.

Biological therapies are increasingly being utilised in the fight against cancers caused by rare, inherited genetic problems, such as the BRCA example that was encountered by Angelina Jolie.

And a study conducted by experts at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute indicates that targeted drugs may work in women that do not even have a genetic risk of contracting cancer.

The new drugs could be effective in approximately 20% of cases according to scientists.

One of the researchers, Dr Helen Davies, explicitly stated that research indicates that the new drugs may have the potential to treat other types of cancer.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the UK.

One biological therapy or PARP inhibitor, called olaparib, is already used on the NHS to treat advanced ovarian cancer.

Clinical trials are currently underway in order to determine whether it will be possible to use this medicine as a breast cancer drug.

This latest study has been published in the journal Nature Medicine, with researchers assessing the genetic composition of breast cancer in around 560 patients.

They found a significant proportion of them had genetic errors or “mutational signatures” that were very similar to faulty BRCA.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, from Breast Cancer Now, believes that the results are revelatory.

“We hope it could now lead to a watershed moment for the use of mutational signatures in treating the disease,” Morgan commented.

Biological therapies have already delivered promising results with prostate cancer, and it is hoped that similar outcomes can be achieved with breast cancer.

Meanwhile, medics recommend that the general population lower their lifetime risk of breast cancer eating healthily, maintaining a sensible weight, avoiding cigarettes and reducing alcohol intake.

Over 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK, including around 4,600 in Scotland.

Around 5,500 additional women are diagnosed with an earlier, non-invasive form of breast cancer on an annual basis

These are confined to a specific area of the breast, usually milk ducts, but may later develop the ability to spread

One in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime.

And around 350 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK, including around 30 in Scotland.


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