Karmanos Cancer Institute Researchers Provide New Hope for Breast Cancer Treatment

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DETROIT, April 22, 2009 – Scientists from the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit presented data today at the American Association for Cancer Research’s 100th Annual Meeting 2009 that signifies exciting research advancements in the treatment of the more aggressive forms of breast cancer.

Researchers gave an oral presentation about compounds derived from an FDA-approved drug used for the treatment of alcoholism that could provide viable treatment options for breast cancer patients.

Angelika Burger, Ph.D., director of the Translational Research Laboratory at the Karmanos Cancer Institute and professor of Pharmacology at Wayne State University, served as principle investigator. Doctoral candidate Daniela Buac of Wayne State University School of Medicine gave the oral presentation.

Researchers from the Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University in Detroit, Cardiff University in Great Britain, and the Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto designed a series of compounds based on Disulfiram (DSF) and found that one of the compounds was more potent than DSF itself in inhibiting an enzyme that spurs the growth of breast cancers. More than 50 percent of invasive breast cancers have the presence of the enzyme that could be treated by the DSF-derived compound.

“DSF is a very safe drug,” said Dr. Burger. “It could be given to cancer patients alone or in combination with standard therapies used to treat breast cancers.”

Karmanos scientists are encouraging additional preclinical testing. They are building upon past research employing the use of DSF in fighting breast cancers.

“Another colleague at Karmanos has worked with this drug too and we already have animal data showing that DSF treatments work,” said Dr. Burger. “I anticipate that we’ll collaborate with our breast cancer clinicians to translate the findings into clinical trials.”

Earlier in the week, Karmanos Cancer Institute researchers presented a poster that showed pre-clinical, experimental drug combinations provide real hope to those dealing with the more dangerous, triple-negative forms of breast cancer.

“There are many drugs that are being studied,” she said. “Down the road, they might be useful drugs for the treatment of breast cancer. I’m very excited about the research.”

Located in mid-town Detroit, MI, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute is one of 40 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Caring for more than 6,000 new patients annually on a budget of $216 million, conducting more than 700 cancer-specific scientific investigation programs and clinical trials, the Karmanos Cancer Institute is among the nation’s best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including nearly 300 faculty members, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, the Institute strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer. For more information call 1-800-KARMANOS or go to www.karmanos.org.

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Source: Karmanos Cancer Institute

CONTACT: Patricia A. Ellis of Karmanos Cancer Institute,
+1-313-576-8629, Cell: +1-313-410-3417

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