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UVA researchers discover triple-negative breast cancer gene that causes its spread

UVA Health
UVA Health(NBC29)
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 2:55 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Triple-negative breast cancer, also known as TNBC accounts for 40,000 deaths in the U.S.

It’s a cancer that metastasizes and spreads to other parts of the body. Now researchers at the University of Virginia have discovered the gene responsible for spreading, giving hope to many suffering from the disease.

UVA’s Sanchita Bhatnagar and a team of researchers discovered that the gene TRIM37 is what causes triple-negative breast cancer to spread in the body and resist chemotherapy treatment. Researchers have been testing out a new therapy to target TRIM37 in a mouse model.

“In particular what my lab has been focusing is a bad gene called TRIM37, which I discovered as a breast cancer oncogene previously and asked this specific question, ‘what does it do to the metastatic trait of triple negative breast cancer?’” Bhatnagar said.

Researcher Jogender Tushir-Singh and his team collaborated with Bhatnagar’s lab to engineer ways to target TRIM37 and prevent the spread of this aggressive cancer.

“We believe this approach, what we have discovered, if it is given prior to immunotherapy, it could have longer prolonged life of a patient and could have much better effects,” Singh said.

UVA researchers have been talking with clinicians and hope to have clinical trials begin within the next few years.

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