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New treatment possible for chemo-resistant breast cancer

New research suggests that blocking the 'energy supply' of tumours could lead to a new treatment for breast cancer.

The fuel supply of breast cancer cells can be stopped using molecules called cyclic peptide inhibitors, according to researchers from the University of Southampton.

Researchers say the treatment could be key in the fight against breast cancers that have become resistant to current chemotherapies.

Dr Jeremy Blaydes, lead author agreed. He said: “Despite great improvements in breast cancer treatment in recent years, chemotherapy resistance eventually happens in around one in give cases.

“To overcome this resistance, innovative treatments that use the new approaches to stop cancer from growing are desperately needed.”  

Researchers have known for many years that cancer cells produce energy and use sugar slightly differently from healthy cells.

In breast cancer the process involves proteins called CtBPs sticking together to form pairs inside the cell. These in turn help the cells to multiply.

Cancer Research UK's science information manager Henry Scowcroft said cyclic peptides "are emerging as an exciting way to probe parts of cancer biology other molecules can't reach".

But he added: "While they're useful in the lab, they can't be taken as a simple tablet and it's difficult to get them into cells in the patient's body.

"So there's a way to go before this fascinating research can translate into benefits for patients."

The research, which was funded by Cancer Research UK, was published in the journal Chemical Science.