Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore have developed a ‘two drug cocktail’ that can curb the growth of breast cancers. The drugs have been developed to target two cancer causing proteins, which have been found to make breast cancers more aggressive.
The two drugs have been tested on mice, and two labs at IISc are working on developing versions that can be used in human trials.
Their findings implicate that two well-known cancer causing proteins, Ras and Notch, are the key factors that are responsible for making some breast cancers more aggressive and invasive.
The triple negative class of breast cancer (TNBC) are more aggressive, grow faster, spread more and relapse sooner during treatment that usually involves a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
In their recent work, members of Annapoorni Rangarajan’s lab at IISc have identified two new weapons in the TNBC arsenal, and found new ways to neutralize them.
The study found that tumors derived from human breast cancers when grown in mice, did shrink upon administration of the two-drug cocktail (a monoclonal antibody against Notch1 and a small molecule inhibitor against Ras). The two drugs caused death of the tumor cells and curbed their aggressiveness resulting in smaller tumors and better outcomes.
The two labs are now working towards “generating recombinant antibodies that can be used in human trials.”
“Though in its early stages, these are promising results that potentially provide a new approach to tackle a formidable and elusive enemy - the triple negative breast cancers,” a scientist associated with the study said.
The paper appeared in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics in 2014.