Unmasking breast cancer: Research aiming to block breast cancer spread

Researchers from Peter Mac’s Metastasis Research Laboratory have discovered an immune signal in breast cancer cells that could be targeted with an existing treatment to contain tumours to the breast and wipe out cancerous cells before they metastasise in the bone.

Thanks to the support of donations from the public, researchers were able to find that the immune signal, interferon, is sometimes switched off. This enables breast cancer cells to hide from the immune system and spread.

The team has proven that interferon therapies effectively reactivate the immune signal in pre-clinical models of breast cancer. This renders the cells detectable and open to attack from the immune system, blocking their growth into secondary tumours.

The research findings, published in esteemed scientific journal, Nature Medicine, carry great potential with interferon therapies already approved for use in the treatment of diseases such as hepatitis, multiple sclerosis and metastatic melanoma.

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