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Scientists take step closer to chemo-resistance test for breast cancer

April 13, 2012

Scientists at the University of Hull believe a particular group of proteins could be used to predict a patient's response to different breast cancer drugs.

Researchers have identified a family of proteins that could one day form the basis of a new test to predict how well a person with breast cancer will respond to treatment with chemotherapy.

Some patients have a type of cancer that does not respond to chemotherapy, but at present there is no way of determining this in advance.

This means that women often receive chemotherapy drugs that do not work for them, delaying more suitable treatments - that may or may not be available without private medical insurance - and causing unnecessary side-effects.

Now, scientists at the University of Hull have identified a family of proteins that appear to be twice as common in tumours that are resistant to chemotherapy.

Lead researcher Dr Lynn Cawkwell, whose findings are published in the Journal of Proteomics, revealed: "We hope that by testing for these proteins, doctors will be able to anticipate a patient's response to different chemotherapies and decide which course of treatment is most appropriate for them."

Some advanced cancer therapies that might be appropriate for chemotherapy-resistant breast cancers are not readily available on the NHS, but patients may be able to access them by contacting their private medical insurance provider.

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