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New research makes headway in triple negative breast cancer

Triple negative breast cancer is one of the most deadly and difficult to treat types of breast cancer, and scientists at Baylor College of Medicine as well as Harvard Medical School have published new promising findings in the journal Cell, according to Bioscience Technology.

The practical benefit of the new findings may come much faster than those of other research studies. Phase II of clinical trials may begin in early 2012.

“Whereas many basic discoveries have the potential to impact patients’ lives within ten, 20 or 30 years, this has the potential to impact patients’ lives within one year,” according to Dr. Thomas Westbrook, who started on triple negative breast cancer research as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard.

What the researchers found was that a great majority of triple negative breast cancer samples - almost 60 percent - were missing an enzyme called tyrosine phosphatase PTPN12. Without this element, the cells could not keep their growth under control, thus leading to cancer.

About one in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer. Countless others are affected by the disease because of family and friends who have it.
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