A San Francisco researcher is learning of new ways to track the pathways that allow breast cancer to spread and what prescription drugs could fight off the spread, the American Cancer Society said recently.
Cancer that spreads, metastatic cancer, is spread via regulatory pathways in the body; however, drugs to target the spread are limited because of poor success rates. These pathways allow for cancer to continue to build in the body and produce.
"While metastatic disease is the ultimate cause of death in many breast cancer patients, anti-metastatic drugs are not commonly pursued," Hani Goodarzi, head of the research lab at the University of California in San Francisco, said in a release. "Cancer cells, for the most part, share the same genetic code with the normal cells. What gives cells cancerous and metastatic capacity is how this genetic code is interpreted."
Goodarzi thinks researchers aren't developing enough drugs to pursue this type of cancer and spreading patterns, so he is conducting research to learn of those pathways and how to prevent cancer from spreading. In his research, he used a unique technique to record how quickly new cancer cells produce protein. After recording the new protein amounts, he worked backwards to find the problem with the cells and find the pathway, he said.
In studying breast cancer patients, Goodarzi said found a possible pathway that allowed cancer cells to spread, and he has continued work on that with a monetary grant from the American Cancer Society, the release said.
Goodarzi said he hopes his research will produce findings which indicate what pathways metastatic cancer takes and how those pathways can be treated.
"I want patients to know that we are taking a significant stride towards understanding what makes cancer cells tick," Goodarzi said in the release. "We need this knowledge to then be able to stop it from ticking.”