Is this the breast cancer breakthrough we’ve all been waiting for

So many of us have had our lives touched by breast cancer, and researchers are desperately searching for ways to

So many of us have had our lives touched by breast cancer, and researchers are desperately searching for ways to prevent and cure this terrible disease.

While chemotherapy works for some breast cancers, what about those tumours that a drug-resistant – how best to fight them?

That’s the focus of a new study that has found evidence to suggest that the answer might be a “double whammy” approach combining chemotherapy with immunotherapy.

For a long time the role of the immune system in the control and elimination of cancer has been under-appreciated. However, it is now understood that tumours can suppress the anti-tumour immune response in order to aid their own growth and spread around the body.

Unlike some other cancers, including those of the lung and skin, breast cancer doesn’t respond well to treatments that harness the immune system. However, new research has shown that pairing chemo and immunotherapy can deliver a double-whammy punch that knocks out deadly drug-resistant breast cancer.

The new research involved combining a cancer-destroying chemotherapy drug with certain antibodies, including those that prevent cancer escaping detection by the immune system. The results show that the tumours lost their ability to shield themselves from the immune system, allowing immune cells to attack the cancer. The models also remained cancer-free even after they were given new tumours, indicating long-lasting immune protection.

The researchers led by Dr Philipp Muller, from the University of Basel in Switzerland, described the results as “striking” – an extremely treatment-resistant cancer has been transformed into tumours that are highly vulnerable to immune attack, and ultimately resulted in complete cures in their pre-clinical model.

The subtype of breast cancer used in the study was a form known as Her2 positive, which affects between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of women with breast cancer, and can be difficult to treat.

Patients with this disease are genetically programmed to over-produce the cancer-driving Her2 protein and most patients develop resistance to Her2 targeted treatments, such as the drug Herceptin.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation here in Australia currently funds researchers doing similar studies; exploring how to trigger the immune system to recognise tumours and eliminate them, by combining drug combinations with chemo or radiation to enhance the effect of the treatments.

Have you or someone you loved experienced breast cancer? Are you hopeful we will soon find a cure?

  1. Yes lost a sister to breast cancer. Also lost a cousin (by marriage) to it. Had two aunts affected by it as well, but they survived.

  2. This is a science that I’m very excited about. They are also looking at other cancers and doing tests of a similar nature. It makes absolute sense to me. Cancer is a mutated virus that tricks the body’s immune system therefor it grows. The immune system fails to recognize that the cancer virus is still in your body. Chemo treatment destroys the immune system in hope that it will rebuild and boost up again. This new science ( although in some parts of the world it is an old wife’s tale) is about putting another form of virus into the body to shock and wake up the immune system to go on the attach to destroy the new virus and the cancer virus. Result are showing that not only dose it fight the new virus but starts attacking the cancer virus.
    Since having cancer I have become more aware of how ” clean” our society has become everything right down to the antibacterial hand wash. We are all destroying our immune systems making them lazy. I’m now convinced that the more I allow my body to fight infections the stronger the immune system will be. As I said I love this science it makes a lot of sense.

  3. From a breast cancer survivor (hate that term) – a link to cancer and immune system is hardly new. Naturopaths and Integrative medicine practitioners have been treating the disease via boosting the immune system for decades.

  4. Its the only way the big pharma will allow. No cures allowed unless they can keep peddling their chemo poison as part of that known cure.. which they also know wont happen anyway because their chemo drug itself is poison. Cagey big pharma.

    • Exactly, Sheryl. Pharma doesn’t want a cure for cancer, they’re making too much money from it.

  5. I know people who have had breast cancer who are still with us today and also one who has passed on. My wish would be that they could find a cure for all cancers. When you know what people go through with these sorts of treatments you can understand why some do eventually give up. Should I ever get cancer I would try treatment but if it was as bad as I have seen, I would prefer quality over quantity.

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