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Broadening chemo target may help treatment

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A U.S. study has shown broadening the target of chemotherapy to include surrounding, non-cancerous cells may improve the success of breast cancer treatment.

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found aiming chemotherapy at both cancer cells and surrounding cells that assist cancer progression can be much more effective in treating the disease.

The genetically-normal environment that surrounds malignant breast cancer cells can contain genes that code for proteins that prompt the progression of cancer, causing cells to grow abnormally and expand cancer barriers.

Two of these genes in particular, CXCL12 and CXCL14, have codes for these harmful proteins called chemokines, researchers said. Chemotherapy is designed to kill the malignant cells, but after prolonged exposure patients can develop a resistance to the treatment.

Examining gene activity, the research said, could also lead to an invasive cancer predictor, saving many women from needlessly aggressive treatments.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International

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