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An individualized approach to breast cancer treatment
Date:1/26/2009

Not all breast cancers are the same, and not all will have fatal consequences. But because clinicians find it difficult to accurately determine which tumors will metastasize, many patients do not receive the therapy fits their disease.

Tel Aviv University has now refined breast cancer identification so that each course of treatment is as individual as the woman being treated.

The new approach based on a combination of MRI and ultrasound is able to measure the metabolism rates of cancer cells. The approach helps determine at an earlier stage than ever before which cells are metastasizing, and how they should be treated.

The method, expected to start clinical trials in 2010, is currently being researched in Israel hospitals.

Leading the Way to a New Field of Medicine

"We have developed a non-intrusive way of studying the metabolism of breast cancer in real time," says Dr. Ilan Tsarfaty, a lead researcher from TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine. "It's an invaluable tool. By the time results are in from a traditional biopsy, the cancer can already be radically different. But using our technique, we can map the tumor and its borders and determine with high levels of certainty right away which patients should be treated aggressively."

The research falls in a new field called "translational and personalized medicine", and Dr. Tsarfaty says it has the potential to save thousands of lives. Papers describing his methodologies were published recently in the journals Cancer Research and Neoplasia.

"Current breast cancer treatments are not tailored to individual patients," Dr. Tsarfaty says. "Our approach to profiling individual tumors will not only help save lives today, it will provide the basic research for developing cancer drugs of the future," he says.

An Application to Other Cancers

The new research can be applied to all solid tumors, including those
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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