"As good as these interim findings look to us, we cannot talk about significant benefit until we compare TM treatment to other therapies," she says. Dr. Vahdat expects to launch a phase III randomized clinical trial in the near future.
This research is a report of the first 40 patients. The clinical trial, which began in 2007, has been expanded many times and now includes 60 patients, more than half of who have triple-negative breast cancer.
Deplete Copper to Prevent Cancer Spread
New discoveries in the science of metastasis and examination of the body's utilization of copper to promote cancer spread led to this clinical trial.
Investigators at Weill Cornell, including some of this study's co-authors, have contributed to the recent understanding of the role bone marrow cells play in promoting metastasis. They previously found that a collection of bone marrow-derived cells, which include VEGFR1+ hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), prepare a site in distant organs to accept cancer cells. HPCs also recruit endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), among others, to activate an "angiogenic switch" that establish blood vessels at the site to feed newly migrated cancer cells.
Breast cancer research studies conducted at Weill Cornell have also found that immediately prior to cancer relapse, levels of EPCs and HPCs rise significantly further, suggesting that the EPC target of the copper depletion approach is one that makes sense.
"Breast tumors want to move to specific organs, and these EPCs and HPCs cells leave a 'popcorn trail' for cancer cells to follow, as well as provide the building blocks for blood vessels to greet them as they arrive," Dr.
|Contact: Lauren Woods|
Weill Cornell Medical College