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A new drug for triple-negative breast cancer?

  • Researcher: Professor David Vaux
  • Institution: The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia
  • Award Amount: £194,852 over 3 years from January 2015
  • Cancer Type: Breast Cancer
A new drug for triple-negative breast cancer?
Professor Vaux and Dr Lalaoui are testing a new type of targeted drug for triple-negative breast cancer. "Triple-negative breast cancer tumours do not express any of the hormone receptors targeted by the mainstay hormonal therapies like tamoxifen," says Professor Vaux. "Often, chemotherapy can be the only option for these patients." A key challenge of developing new breast cancer treatments is not only to identify new drugs that are effective and have fewer side effects, but also to match them with the type of breast cancer that will respond- this can be a stumbling block for triple-negative breast cancer.
However, Professor Vaux and his team have gathered exciting early data which suggests that a new type of targeted drug called birinapant could be particularly effective on triple-negative breast cancer. For this project they will now take this further. Professor Vaux explains: "In this project we want to confirm our earlier birinapant findings by using a special mouse model with patient-derived breast tumours. We will also test the combination of birinapant with other drugs, to optimise its effectiveness. It's really exciting- if our work is successful, these results will provide the basis for a phase 2 clinical trials."
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