Scientists in Britain have given fresh hope to experts everywhere after cracking the solution to one of the greatest medical questions related to breast cancer: how does it spread to the lungs?
Researchers from Edinburgh University claim to have discovered the trigger that allows the illness to spread to these vital organs, which lead to the cancer becoming incurable.
The scientists have reportedly been able to track how the infected cells travel through to the lungs, and it all comes down to white cells known as macrophages.
These macrophages are said to release chemical signals that draw the cancer cells into the lungs, encouraging them to take root and develop in the organs. Once the cancer hits the lungs – which is one of the first places to be affected by the spread – there is no cure.
The findings of their experiments were published this weekend in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. In this, the researchers claim that by blocking a key step in the signalling process of the macrophages, they watched the number of lung tumour cells drop by up to two-thirds.
Despite the fact that the early experiments were carried out on laboratory mice, researchers reported that their groundbreaking work was successful on tumour cells from mouse and human versions of breast cancer.
Now, lead researcher Jeffery Pollard is in talks with various pharmaceutical companies about creating a drug based on this amazing new research.
Commenting on the significance of the findings, Pollard said: “Our findings open the door to the development of treatments, which might stop the deadly progression of breast cancer in its tracks. It is very exciting. We are very happy to have made these inroads.”