MD Anderson Researchers Find Novel Therapeutic Target Against Aggressive Breast Cancer Tumors

MD Anderson Researchers Find Novel Therapeutic Target Against Aggressive Breast Cancer Tumors
A new study led by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center revealed a key protein called DAPK1 as a new therapeutic target for specific aggressive breast cancer tumors. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and is entitled “Death-associated protein kinase 1 promotes growth of p53-mutant cancers”. Apart from skin cancer, breast cancer is estimated to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women affecting more than 230,000 individuals every year. The death rate in women associated to breast cancer is higher than in any other cancer, except for lung cancer. Mutations in genes like TP53, BRCA1 or BRCA2 are known to greatly increase the risk of developing the malignancy. It is estimated that 15% of all diagnosed breast cancers correspond to triple-negative breast cancers, a type of cancer that lacks the receptors commonly targeted in chemotherapy – estrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Up to 80% of triple-negative cancers carry TP53 mutations. Compared to other breast cancer types, triple-negative breast cancers are usually extremely aggressive, non-responsive to targeted therapeutic drugs and associated with a poor prognosis, with patients frequently having a higher risk of recurrence and a shorter survival rate. There is an urgent need for effective therapies for this type of cancer. While searching for novel therapeutic targets in aggressive breast cancers, researchers identified DAPK1 (death-assoc
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