Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Reducing the risk of unnecessary chemo

09.11.2010
A fundamental principle of medicine is: "first, do no harm." However, for doctors who treat breast cancer, this is easier said than done.

Every year, almost 22,000 Canadian women are diagnosed with breast cancer — their treatment usually involves surgery to remove a tumour and then chemotherapy to reduce the risk of cancer returning. But studies show that for most patients with early stage breast cancer, chemotherapy following surgery is totally unnecessary and therefore does more harm than good.

Identifying whether a patient's cancer is at low or high risk of recurring would help doctors reduce unnecessary treatments for low risk patients. This could have a huge impact on a patient's quality of life and also significantly reduce the cost of health care.

Did you know?

Chemotherapy can be devastating both physically and emotionally. Side effects of breast cancer chemotherapy range from nausea, vomiting and hair loss to mouth sores, menopause, infertility, numbness and aching of the joints, hands and feet.

Currently, most doctors assess a patient's prognosis using their age and "tumour grade," but this approach doesn't work very well. Now, NRC researchers have developed a tool to determine which breast cancer patients have little risk of their disease recurring. The tool — an algorithm that identifies "gene expression signatures" or biomarkers that can predict low risk tumours with 87-100 percent accuracy in different groups of patients — has the potential to virtually eliminate unnecessary chemotherapy.

To conduct their study, which appeared in a recent issue of Nature Communications, Dr. Edwin Wang and his colleagues at the NRC Biotechnology Research Institute in Montreal (NRC-BRI) used published data on gene expression profiles from more than 1000 breast cancer samples. "Every tumour has a gene expression profile, which indicates how the patient's genes have changed," he explains. "We combined this data with information on the patient's outcome — such as whether the original tumour spread and how long the person survived — to develop our algorithm."

The NRC team now hopes to see its algorithm applied in a clinical setting. "We have a provisional patent on the intellectual property and we would like to get a Canadian company to license it and turn it into a kit format," says Dr. Maureen O'Connor of NRC-BRI, who co-authored the study. "We've had interest expressed from more than one company so far."

Dr. O'Connor adds that the NRC algorithm could be adapted to other types of cancer where over-treatment is common, such as prostate cancer. "Prostate cancer in particular is usually not an aggressive disease, but the treatment can be extreme," she says. "We would like to develop a test that can predict with 99 percent accuracy whether a patient's cancer is not aggressive, so they can make the best decision about whether to proceed with treatment right away."

In future, the algorithm may also help pave the way toward personalized therapy for cancer patients. "On average, every cancer patient has 14-16 mutated genes," says Dr. Wang. "Based on their unique genetic signature, we hope to figure out which mutations to target to block the cancer process in each patient."

NRC Media Relations | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Further reports about: Canadian Light Source NRC NRC-BRI algorithm breast cancer cancer patients

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New Hope for Cancer Therapies: Targeted Monitoring may help Improve Tumor Treatment
01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>