Breast cancer is one of the most common causes of death among women over sixty living in Europe. And while a growing proportion of less-advanced stages have been reported in the Czech Republic in recent years, largely due to improved screening initiatives, approximately 20 percent of all cases are considered aggressive.
Within those aggressive forms of cancer, the HER2 tumor is the most prevalent. Making up a fifth of breast tumors in Czech women, it tends to resist the commonly used breast-cancer drug Tamoxifen.
But Czech scientists from the Biotechnology and Biomedicine Center of the Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Vestec near Prague are currently developing a drug that attacks this aggressive form of the illness, iDnes.cz is reporting.
Prelminary trials have shown that the new formulation, a modification of Tamoxifen, forces tumor cells to apoptosis, essentially suffocating cancer cells where the HER2 protein is present.
The drug, called MitoTam, has already passed laboratory and pre-clinical testing. It is now awaiting clincial trials in humans.
“The results show that MitoTam has very good prospects to become an effective anti-cancer agent,” says researcher Catherine Rohlenová.
While scientists are optimistic, the drug could be in testing phases for several more years. See a brief abstract on the study in English here.