Baby Steps in Research that May Help IBC and Triple Negative Breast Cancer Patients

Phyllis Johnson Health Guide

    Today I read an article about research that may help inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and triple negative breast cancer patients.  When I got to the end of the article, I read about who funded the research.  Hey, I thought, I wrote about this grant a while ago.  


    Scrolling back through the HealthCentral archives, I discovered that it has been almost five years to the day since I wrote a post about fund-raising for a Promise Grant for research into IBC that was supported by American Airlines, and the Susan G Komen Foundation.  Additional funding for the research came from the National Institutes of Health and the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation.  Researchers at the Thomas Jefferson University Kimmel Cancer Center, the Fox Chase Cancer Center, and MD Anderson Cancer Center collaborated on the study.

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    The scientists used an animal model they developed in 2012.  They took tumor cells from a patient with triple negative IBC, cultured them in a cell, and then injected them into mice.  This procedure gave them live subjects to study leading to this year’s findings.


    The breakthrough in the research is that the scientists found two protein molecules involved in IBC.  This kind of basic science is interesting, but patients usually want to know what it will mean for them.  Knowing that a problem exists is very different from having a solution.  


    In this case, the solution may already be available.  The press release from the Kimmel Cancer Center states, “Drugs already exist that inhibit both of these two cancer-promoting proteins at the same time, which the researchers are now testing in animal preclinical studies.” “Testing in animal preclinical studies” means that it will probably be years before these drugs are available in your doctor’s office.


    I always have such mixed feelings when I read these kinds of articles.  We see big headlines about research grants, then hear nothing.  Five years later, headlines proclaim breakthroughs that may result in drugs years from now.  I want a cure now!  Even better, I want the breakthrough that identifies the causes of breast cancer so that it can be prevented the way the HPV vaccine is preventing cervical cancer.


    But that isn’t the way science works.  Each baby step in knowledge leads to new ideas that fuel researchers’ imaginations.  Scientists in different institutions collaborate and share ideas that move us down the road another step or two.  When we look back, we can see how far we’ve come.  I just wish we were closer to our goal.


    Researchers Develop a New Cell and Animal Model of Inflammatory Breast Cancer News Release Fox Chase Cancer Center.  4 Apr 2012. Accessed 8 Aug. 2013.


    Thomas Jefferson University Kimmel Cancer Center: Researchers Find New Clues to Treat Rare and Aggressive Inflammatory Breast Cancer. PRWEB. 7 Aug. 2013 Accessed 8 Aug 2013.

Published On: August 08, 2013