PBCC President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy responds to breakthrough breast cancer study

Posted By on September 24th, 2012 at 2:38 pm | 25 comments.

Researchers have unveiled what they believe is a hallmark study for breast cancer patients and the doctors who treat them. Their findings, published Sunday in the journal Nature and the New York Times, are expected to pave the way for new treatment options in the coming years.

The project, funded by a larger federal grant, focused on a genetic analysis of breast cancer, which kills more than 12,000 women in Pennsylvania each year.  The scientists monitored the tumors of 825 breast cancer patients in the US. As a result, they found four distinctive types of breast cancer. Within those types, researchers say they identified at least 40 genetic alterations that might be attacked by drugs. Many of those drugs are already being developed for other types of cancers with the same mutations.

Researchers and patient advocates stress that it could still take years of research and clinical trials to incorporate the insights into new treatments. They say a wide variety of drugs will most likely need to be created and tailored to individual tumor types.

“This is a tremendous new development that will alter the way women with breast cancer are treated,” said PBCC President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy. “Of course, this is the first step, but I believe it’s the first step toward a cure for many types of breast cancer.”

The four types identified in the study are basal-like cancers, luminal A and B cancers, and HER2-enriched cancers. From here, doctors and researchers are hoping clinical trials and dozens of separate drug studies will help to develop new breakthroughs in treatment from the findings. Dr. Elizabeth Stark, a breast cancer patient and biochemist at Pfizer, says she knows it will take time, but she’s hopeful the research will lead to a cure. “In 10 years, it will be different,” she said. “I know I will be here in 10 years.”

To read the complete New York Times Article, visit this link: NY Times Article

To read the complete journal Nature study, visit this link: journal Nature study

The PA Breast Cancer Coalition represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants. The PBCC is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to. For more information, please call 800-377-8828 or visit www.PABreastCancer.org.

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