European scientists have declared their success in creating a drug that prevents the spread and recurrence of human breast cancer. The drug was successful in lab mice and human patients participating in a first clinical trial.
MitoQ, a molecule, works as the basis of a new drug created at the University of Louvain, Belgium. The drug showed only slight toxicity to human patients in the first trial. These patients experienced nausea and vomiting. Down the road, more trials on human patients are anticipated. In the journal Cancers, the research was published by the team.
Even with early detection, some forms of cancer may be more aggressive than others. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an instance of this. According to the American Cancer Society, it makes up to 15 percent of all breast cancers. Cancer cells that, when tested, are shown to lack estrogen or progesterone receptors and either lack or have too much HER2 protein are referred to as TNBC.
TNBC is more widespread in women younger than 40, black women, and those with a BRCA1 mutation. Compared to other types of breast cancer, TNBC tends to grow and spread faster. There are also increased negative results because there are fewer treatment options.
In Belgium, 1000 people are affected yearly by this form of cancer, although globally, 225,000 patients have been diagnosed with TNBC. With or without treatment, roughly half of these develop local recurrences and spreading (metastases). There is no specific treatment for TNBC currently. The survival rate in patients is a 1 in 10 chance.
Preventing the appearance of melanoma tumor metastases in mice was achievable, as researcher Pierre Sonveaux of the University of Louvain Institute demonstrated in 2014. For use as drugs, the experimental molecules were not ready at the time.
MitoQ was developed over the last eight years by Sonveaux and his team. It has blocked the reappearance of metastases in 80 percent of cases and stopped local recurrences of human breast cancer in 75 percent of cases in mice. The recurrence and spread of cancer were shown in the control subjects, which were untreated mice.
Just as with human patients, standard chemotherapies were used with surgery by the team for the mice. They added MitoQ as a supplement to the standard treatment to test the new molecule. While MitoQ works with the usual chemotherapy, the team discovered that it halts the recurrence and spreading of breast cancer in mice.
Recurrences, cancer spread by metastases, and resistance to treatment are the three primary causes of cancer deaths. Because of this, Sonveaux and his colleagues believe MitoQ is a breakthrough development. According to the researchers, there is no other known molecule capable of acting like MitoQ.
Two kinds of cancerous cells make up cancers. Some multiply but are sensitive to clinical treatments, while others remain dormant, only to show up later. The latter cells are more harmful because metastases results. They can reoccur if they are not entirely removed by surgery. Chemotherapy currently treats the relapse of cancer, yet because of resistant tumor cells, the treatment tends to be ineffective. MitoQ is revolutionary because it stops cancerous stem cells from awakening.
“We expected to be able to block the metastases. But preventing the recurrence of the cancer was totally unexpected. Getting this type of result is a huge motivation for us to carry on,” said Sonveaux.