Northwestern University LogoWe all know that a protective fence blocks our neighbor’s dog from coming into our backyard. Similarly our body has fences too and apparently, these fences are physical and biochemical barriers which maintain cells in their place.

It was believed that a researcher from Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine has established a way to strengthen the breast’s ‘fence’ in order to prevent cancer from metastasizing.

When breast cancer spreads or metastasizes, it may possibly collide through the body’s protective fences. Moreover, the disease seems to become dangerous when it moves outside the mammary ducts thereby entering the bloodstream and spreads to the bones, liver or brain.

At present, there appear to be only drugs that attempt to stop the uncontrolled division of cancer cells inside the ducts. Also, till today, no drugs in particular could target the invasion and spread of breast cancer to the organs. Researcher Seth Corey, M.D., seems to have discovered that when a drug generally used to treat leukemia is put together to a frequently used breast cancer drug, the powerful fresh chemotherapy cocktail assists in preventing breast cancer cells from invading.

“This is an entirely new way of targeting a cancer cell,” says chief researcher, Corey, the Sharon B. Murphy-Steven T. Rosen Research Professor of Cancer Biology and Chemotherapy at the Feinberg School and director of the pediatric oncology program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

Corey was noted to have carried out his research in the lab with women’s breast cancer cells. He found that when the leukemia drug dasatinib is combined with the breast cancer drug doxorubicin, the potent mix seems to reduce breast cancer cell invasion by nearly fifty percent.

“Perhaps this drug could be given to prevent invasion from happening in the first place. This might keep the disease in check and prevent it from progressing,” continues Corey, who also is a pediatric oncologist at Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Supposedly, dasatinib targets an enzyme called the Src kinase which is believed to play a crucial role in breast cancer invasion and metastases.

The findings have been published in the British Journal of Cancer.