Breast cancer patients could be saved by $2 osteoporosis drug that stops disease spreading to bones

In some incredible news this evening, it’s been revealed that the key to stopping cancer spreading throughout the body from the breast could be in a $2 osteoporosis drug.

This amazing breakthrough could save thousands of women’s lives after scientists discovered a way to stop breast cancer spreading to bones.

Secondary bone tumours are the cause of around 85 per cent of breast cancer deaths, but now scientists in the UK at Sheffield University say they can stop the cancerous cells from going elsewhere in the body.

Secondary breast cancer is also known as metastatic breast cancer or advanced breast cancer. Many women diagnosed with secondary breast cancer have been diagnosed with breast cancer before. For some women, a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer may be their first diagnosis of cancer, says Cancer Australia.

The drugs the scientists have found are working to prevent bone cancer and subsequent deaths is called bisphosphonates, and are commonly used as treatment for osteoporosis.

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Published in the journal Nature, the discovery is remarkable and experts are hoping trials will show what lab tests have proven – that osteoporosis drugs that cost around $2 can effectively isolate breast cancer in the most at-risk patients, stopping the disease from spreading.

Despite primary tumours in the breast being relatively straightforward to remove, there is a risk of cancer spreading to the body and this is when it becomes untreatable.

This is important progress in the fight against breast cancer metastasis so that there is an increase chance of survival for thousands of patients.

Research co-leader Dr Alison Gartland, a bone specialist at the University of Sheffield, said, “This is really exciting.

“ER-negative patients are the ones with the poorest prognosis – they are the ones who really need identifying and treating.

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“This is important progress in the fight against breast cancer metastasis, increasing the chances of survival for thousands of patients”.

It was Dr Gartland’s team that discovered that ER-negative breast tumours release an enzyme called LysYl Oxidase – or LOX – which attacks the bones. This enzyme puts holes in the bones’ surface, which is where cancerous cells enter.

“We have shown that bisphosphonates inhibit this process by stopping LOX interacting with the bone cells”, Dr Gartland said, reports The Daily Mail.

And Samia al Qadhi, of Breast Cancer Care, said: “The findings in this early research indicate an exciting step towards a better understanding of how some breast cancers spread to the bones.

“This could, in future, help lay the basis for new and improved treatments and therapies for people with breast cancer.

“So we look forward to hearing the results from further studies and clinical trials”.