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Analysis of breast-cancer gene role offers promising target

nventional pathological examination."

Dr. Debu Tripathy, professor of internal medicine, director of the Komen/UT Southwestern Breast Cancer Research Program and a coauthor of the study, said the biochemical process triggered by uPAR, called the urokinase plasminogen activator system, is one of the breast-cancer prognostic factors that has the greatest level of evidence.

"All the work has been on the protein and enzymatic activity and not amplification of the gene, which is a very reliable and easy-to-use diagnostic test called FISH," said Dr. Tripathy. "The other important finding is that HER-2 and uPAR gene amplification tend to co-exist, and this has implications in new strategies to address HER-2-positive breast cancer with drugs that block both HER-2 and urokinase given together."

The study opens a promising avenue to increase the effectiveness of the drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) by adding a second drug seeking to neutralize the uPAR gene.

"One major avenue of investigation would be to develop an antibody that prevents uPAR from binding to a molecule called uPA that can activate uPAR," Dr. Uhr said.
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Source:UT Southwestern Medical Center


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