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Breast cancer breakthrough 'like finding gold'

4th May 2011

British scientists have likened identifying three new breast cancer genes to 'finding gold', claiming the discovery may lead to radical changes in the way the disease is treated.

Researchers at Breakthrough Breast Cancer say the genes - C6ORF96, C6ORF97 and C6ORF211 - are all linked to the oestrogen receptor that drives hormonal breast cancer, but work separately from it, meaning current treatments are unlikely to affect them.

Study author Dr Anita Dunbier, from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London, expressed her shock that the genes are located so close to the oestrogen receptor, which has been the subject of scientific study for decades.

'We now have to look further at how these genes work, but the discovery could lead to possible new therapies that will benefit women with breast cancer in the future.'

Professor Mitch Dowsett, who leads the team at the ICR, added that the discovery is 'exciting' and could help to save many lives in the future.

Last month, a study carried out by the University of Wisconsin and published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that being obese increases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer substantially.

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