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Combination breast cancer therapy targets tumor cells and the blood vessels that feed them

March 28, 2018

Each day, normal human cell tissues express a protein known as p53 that wages war against potential malignancies. However, between 30 and 40 percent of human breast cancers express a defective (mutant) form of p53 that helps cancer cells proliferate and grow. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that combining a cancer therapy, which activates mutant p53 and is currently under a clinical trial, with a second drug therapy that helps suppress tumor blood vessels found in cancer cells, can help significantly reduce the spread of breast cancer tumors while also causing cancer cell death.

In a majority of breast cancer cases, a mutated p53 protein exists. Mutated p53 plays a key role in promoting tumor cells and helps in the development of blood vessels that supply oxygen and other nutrients the tumor needs to grow. However, a specific molecule known as APR-246, which is the drug currently under a human clinical trial, has the ability to restore p53 function giving the body the tools it needs to fight cancer.

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