A study by researchers at the University of Sheffield and the University of Copenhagen published Wednesday, May 27, 2015, states that it may be possible to protect bone from aggressive tumors that cause breast cancer to spread. Scientists came to this conclusion after realizing that patients with secondary cancers have higher counts of an enzyme named LysYl Oxidase (LOX) that is being created by their tumors and sent into the bloodstream.
The hope is that encountering the LOX enzyme early in breast cancer patients could give doctors the opportunity to stop the enzyme’s activity, which will prevent bone damage, therefore eliminating the spread of tumor cells to the bone (a process known as metastasis) and halting the advancement of the disease altogether.
Dr. Alison Gartland, of the University of Sheffield Department of Human Metabolism, co-led this research, and stated, “This is important progress in the fight against breast cancer metastasis and these findings could lead to new treatments to stop secondary breast tumours growing in the bone, increasing the chances of survival for thousands of patients.”
Next, the researchers aim to find out the relationship between LOX and bone cells, which will grant them the ability to pursue methods to end the forming of bone lesions and the process of metastasis.
Living with breast cancer proves immensely difficult for women, as it causes them to endure bone pain and often bone fractures that necessitate difficult surgeries, as noted by Katherine Woods, Senior Research Communications Manager at Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
This discovery is a significant breakthrough in breast cancer research, as it provides the opportunity for further research in hopes of finding a cure for this awful disease that is the second leading cause of death among women.
The research was funded by the following organizations: Breast Cancer Campaign, Cancer Research UK, The Novo Nordisk Foundation, The Danish Cancer Society, The Lundbeck foundation, and both of the aforementioned universities.