In a new study, researchers outline a new therapeutic strategy to treat triple-negative breast cancer.
Triple-negative breast cancer is a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer.
The research was conducted by the researchers from the University of Maryland Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) and their colleagues.
Previous studies have shown that about 10% to 20% of breast cancers are considered triple-negative.
This type of cancer is not fueled by the hormones estrogen or progesterone, nor by the HER2 protein.
Cancer also does not respond to modern hormonal therapies or medicines that target HER2.
For most patients with triple-negative breast cancer, chemotherapy is their only treatment option. They often have a poorer prognosis compared to people with other types of breast cancer.
It is important to develop new targeted treatments for triple-negative breast cancer.
In the current study, the team focused on a gene called POLR2A, which is an essential neighboring gene of TP53 that is most frequently deleted or mutated in triple-negative breast cancer.
They hypothesized that the inhibition of POLR2A could potentially kill triple-negative breast cancer cells while protecting normal cells.
They used RNA interference (RNAi), a process by which RNA molecules inhibit gene expression or translation, in their study.
This tool could precisely target virtually any genes, including those that may contribute to tumor growth.
The researchers suggest that their finding offers hope that nanotechnology-based precision-targeting strategies may help fight triple-negative breast cancer.
The method may also be used in the treatment of other cancers.
One author of the study is BIOE Professor Xiaoming (Shawn) He.
The study is published in Nature Nanotechnology
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Further reading: Nature Nanotechnology.