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Gene technology 'can destroy breast cancer cells'

28th February 2011

A new form of gene therapy can be used to target breast cancer cells and destroy them, scientists in Northern Ireland claim.

Researchers at Belfast's Queen's University have developed a gene transport system known as a Designer Biomimetic Vector, which can help to deliver the iNOS gene directly to the cancer cell and cause it to self-destruct.

Dr Helen McCarthy from the Queen's School of Pharmacy, describing the process in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics, said it may help healthcare specialists bypass a 'major stumbling block' in the treatment of breast cancer.

'In the long term, I see this being used to treat people with metastatic breast cancer that has spread to the bones, ideally administered before radiotherapy and chemotherapy,' she explained.

Commenting on the development, Dr Lisa Wilde, from the Breast Cancer Campaign, said it holds 'great promise' for future therapies.

Last week, researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research claimed that they had identified an enzyme known as lysyl oxidase-like 2, which is responsible for spreading breast cancer tumour cells to other parts of the body.

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