Your Health: New treatment could kill aggressive cancer cells

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Triple-negative breast cancer is aggressive and - if not caught early - has a five-year survival rate of only 12%.
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Triple-negative breast cancer is aggressive and - if not caught early - has a five-year survival rate of only 12%.

Doctors didn’t have much to fight the disease, but a new compound called ERX-41 is showing promise in knocking down triple negative and other breast cancers.

“I was first diagnosed with cancer in July of 2018,” said Lynnette Dawson. “The doctors examined both my breasts and felt a lump on my left.”

Dawson’s cancer responded to chemo and radiation. She’s also had a double mastectomy. Dawson has a form of cancer called HER2 that is hormonally driven, but triple-negative breast cancer has no hormone receptors and is very difficult to treat.

“I think if it’s a grade two or grade three, 50% of them will not survive within five years,” said Dr. Ratna Vadlamudi.

Vadlamudi and his team tested roughly 30,000 genes to find one to stop triple negative.

“What we found is ERX-41 binds to a new therapeutic target that is LipA,” said Vadlamudi.

Once ERX-441 binds to the LipA gene, then the cancer senses defective cells and dies off.

“They accumulate in the lumen and the lumen sends a signal that something is wrong - stop everything,” Vadlamudi said.

Researchers have found a breakthrough in mice. Normal breast cells are not affected by ERX-41 and there is no toxicity to the patient. It’s also been effective against Lynnette’s subtype of cancer.

“HER2 positive is not the easiest,” Dawson said. “It likes to migrate to other parts of your body.”

If researchers have their way, there may be another potential option for women battling tough-to-treat breast cancers.

Vadlamudi said ERX-41 has been effective in knocking down cancer in mice in 60 days. He added the compound is likely to be effective against other lethal cancers - like pancreatic, ovarian and glioblastoma.

More: Health stories

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