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Thursday 27th October 2016

New cancer treatment gene test

1st March 2010

Researchers have created a genetic test which can be used to find out how effectively chemotherapy will treat cancer patients.


The team, which included scientists from Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute, looked at the 829 genes which make up breast cancer cells.

They eliminated the genes which did not have an effect on whether drugs worked or not and ended up with six genes.

The team then demonstrated how these genes could show whether the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel would be effective in treating patients.

Over 45,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK and around 15% are given paclitaxel.

The team said that could save 50% of these women from being needlessly treated with paclitaxel if the test was performed first.

The study's leader, Dr Charles Swanton, head of translational cancer therapeutics at the Institute, said a huge challenge in cancer medicine was finding out which patients will respond to which drugs.

"Our research shows it is now possible to rapidly pinpoint genes which prevent cancer cells from being destroyed by anti-cancer drugs and use these same genes to predict which patients will benefit from specific types of treatment", he explained.

More research will be carried out to see if the team's work could be translated into an easy test which could be used in hospitals.


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