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Sask. researcher working on new treatment for stage 4 breast cancer


A Saskatchewan researcher is working on developing a new treatment for breast cancer, one with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

Deborah Anderson, director of research at the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, says the new treatment is being designed for metastatic breast cancer patients — cancer that has spread to other organs in the body, known as Stage 4.

The new drug aims to target a molecule, called CLIC3, located outside of the cancer cells.

"The idea behind the drug is it targets a molecule which is secreted, so put outside the cells by cancer cells in the surrounding tissue, and it helps the cancer cells move and migrate away from the primary tumour," Anderson says.

"By inhibiting this target, we can hopefully block metastasis, or at least reduce it. There is currently no drugs to this target, so the project is to develop a drug."

The goal is for patients to use the drug before surgery, to stop the spread as soon as a patient has a diagnosis.

"This would mean that their long-term survival is going to hopefully be prolonged, hopefully they'll have fewer side effects as a result of needing less chemotherapy," Anderson tells CTV News in the University of Saskatchewan lab where the treatment is being created.

Because the drug has a specific target, Anderson says the treatment would be less harsh than chemotherapy.

The drug development is in its early stages. With any new drug, safety testing and trials need to be done before it can be approved by the FDA — a process that can a minimum of five years, Anderson estimates.

"We're very excited to be doing something that might actually positively impact patients rather than discovery research — which is interesting and knowledge-gaining and important, but to ultimately see that come to fruition would be wonderful," Anderson says. Top Stories

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