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Study identifies new genetic signatures of breast cancer drug resistance
Date:1/10/2011

A new study conducted by Josh LaBaer's research team in the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has pinpointed more than 30 breast cancer gene targets ---including several novel genes---that are involved in drug resistance to a leading chemotherapy treatment.

The results of the study may one day aid in the treatment of the one in ten U.S. women who will develop breast cancer, by empowering physicians with a more personalized approach to therapy as well as a new tool for the early screening of those that may ultimately become resistant to chemotherapy.

Drugs like tamoxifen have been part of the standard treatment regimen for many breast cancer patients and saved countless lives. Unfortunately, a very serious therapeutic problem can occur when the drug loses its potency over time as women develop a resistance to the drug treatment, and tumors reemerge. Tamoxifen is an effective treatment for the 60 percent of women who are clinically diagnosed as ER+ (estrogen receptor positive), blocking hormones needed for tumor growth.

"The management of breast cancer is complicated, depending on the stage, size of tumor, and other things, but almost all ER+ women end up on tamoxifen, and it is still considered the first line of adjuvant chemotherapy ---along with resection and local radiation---used in both the early treatment of breast cancer and in late stages of the disease," said LaBaer, who holds the Virginia G. Piper Chair in Personalized Medicine at ASU and is director of the Center for Personalized Diagnostics at the Biodesign Institute. "We wanted to use a model where we could use our high-throughput technology to identify genes that encourage drug resistance to ultimately identify a signature that predicts which women will do well on a particular drug."

Using a well-established cell model for breast cancer along with the LaBaer lab's extensive collection of fully sequenced human genes, the team performed the larges
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Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
joseph.caspermeyer@asu.edu
480-727-0369
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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