UNIGE: Fighting breast cancer cells growth
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A low rate of a specific protein triggers tumors development. A UNIGE team found the counter-attack
In about 2/3 of breast cancers, the hormone estrogen facilitates tumor growth. A tamoxifen-based treatment inhibits tumors’ estrogen receptors to prevent their development. But 40 % of treated patients develop a resistance to the molecule.
The laboratory of professor Didier Picard at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at UNIGE Faculty of Sciences found out that a deficit of the SPRED 2 protein was involved.
“We used the CRISPR/Cas9 molecular scissors technique to generate cells in which a different gene was removed each time. We then observed the cancer cells able to proliferate even in the presence of tamoxifen,” explains Vasiliki Vafeiadou, a master’s student and first author of the study.
This discovery could lead to new therapies associating a SPRED2 booster and tamoxifen for patients who do not respond to standard treatments.
“There are obviously still many studies to be conducted, but this combination could be very promising,” says Didier Picard.