Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Gene research aims to improve breast cancer treatment

A new breast cancer research study could lead to new drug therapy to counteract chemotherapy drug resistance in breast cancer patients and ultimately increase survival rates.

“We hope our findings can be used to design resistant-free chemotherapy for patients, says Queen’s University researcher Xiaolong Yang (Pathology and Molecular Medicine).

The research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanism underlying drug resistance in breast cancer cells. The findings indicate that enhanced levels of a cancer-causing gene in certain breast cancer patients is correlated with resistance to a therapeutic drug used for breast cancer treatment.

“When researchers decreased the level of this gene product in cancer cells, the drug-resistant cancer cells became sensitive to the drug and were killed easily.”

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women worldwide. One in nine will be diagnosed and one in 29 will die of the disease. Due to the complexity of mammary tumours, successful diagnosis and the subsequent cure is still a difficult task for oncologists.

Dr. Yang received a three-year $449,100 research grant from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for the project.