JOUR 101, Media

Australian breakthrough brings hope to young cancer sufferers

Normal human breast cancer cell. Triple-negative cancer is more aggressive and common in young women

A normal breast cancer cell. Triple-negative cancer is significantly more aggressive and equates for 15% of all breast cancer cases

Australian researchers are confident they have found a potentially life-saving treatment, that will help many young women who suffer from the aggressive triple-negative breast cancer disease.

Professor Robert Baxter and his team at Sydney’s Kolling Institute of Medical Research after years of research, discovered a protein that causes the cancer to become resistant to treatment.  They combined two drugs that have been “extremely effective” in laboratory testing on mice and preclinical human trials will soon begin.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a disease where the patient does not have the three typical receptors commonly found in breast cancer cells. This makes it a particularly aggressive and difficult cancer to treat as they are not fuelled by hormones and therefore do not respond to traditional cancer drugs.

Ashleigh McAdam, 27, was diagnosed with TNBC just 1 year ago. Her diagnosis was “heart-breaking” saying that she “had never heard of TNBC and cancer was always something that happened to other people”.Whilst remaining optimistic throughout her chemotherapy, Ashleigh said that the news of a potential treatment is, “better than all the Christmases put together even if it does not work for me, at least there is hope for others”.

Triple-negative breast cancer has horrific statistics with the five-year survival rate lower than 89% and the chances of the cancer reoccurring with the first few years are 30% after treatment with chemotherapy. However with optimal treatment and potentially Professor Baxter and his team’s discovery, the chances of a 20-year survival rate will be the same as hormone positive breast cancers.

October 28 is the Cancer Council’s fundraising day and proceeds will go towards Professor Baxter’s work and other research.

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