Cancer drug devimistat may help young women combat triple negative breast cancer

GLASGOW, Scotland — Scientist are testing a new drug to combat an aggressive form of breast cancer common in young women. Experts from the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research are investigating whether drug devimistat may be a viable option for patients with triple negative breast cancer.

Between 10 and 15 percent of all breast cancer patients develop this variety of the disease. Treatment options are limited to surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Younger adults and black women make up a disproportionate share of diagnoses.

The researchers hope devimistat will target protein molecules known as PDH, which encourage breast cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body where the disease becomes even more difficult to treat.

Scientists will test the treatment on mice in a trial funded by Breast Cancer Now.

“We know that breast cancer cells communicate with other non-cancer cells nearby, which helps breast cancer tumors grow and survive,” says lead researcher Professor Sara Zanivan in a statement to SWNS.

“It’s really important that we continue to increase our understanding of this activity, as it may uncover much needed new ways to treat the disease.”

‘Hope for the future’

Prof. Zanivan previously discovered that cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs), found in triple negative breast cancer, can support cancer cell growth by making high amounts of PDH. CAFs are a non-cancer cell found in large numbers inside breast tumors which can generate molecules that influence the behavior of cancer cells, encouraging them to grow or to migrate to other organs.

“The knowledge we’re gaining from Professor Zanivan’s research gives us real hope for the future,” Dr. Kotryna Temcinaite, senior research communications manager at Breast Cancer Now, tells SWNS.

“With a greater understanding of how triple negative breast cancer cells grow and survive, we can find new ways to stop breast cancer tumors spreading and becoming incurable.”

South West News Service writers Ellie Forbes and Helen McArdle contributed to this report.