Scientists, including an Indian-American researcher, have identified a molecule that can help treat breast cancer, giving hope to patients who have become resistant to traditional therapies.
The first-in-class molecule shuts down oestrogen-sensitive breast cancer in a new way, researchers said.
First-in-class drugs are those that work by a unique mechanism—in this case, a molecule that targets a protein on the oestrogen receptor of tumour cells.
The potential drug offers hope for patients whose breast cancer has become resistant to traditional therapies.
"This is a fundamentally different, new class of agents for oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer," said Ganesh Raj, professor at the University of Texas Southwestern (UT Southwestern) Simmons Cancer Center.
"Its unique mechanism of action overcomes the limitations of current therapies," Raj said.
All breast cancers are tested to determine if they require oestrogen to grow and about 80 per cent are found to be oestrogen-sensitive, researchers said.
These cancers can often be effectively treated with hormone therapy, such as tamoxifen, but as many as a third of these cancers eventually become resistant, they said.