National Breast Cancer Awareness Fund Supports New Research

February 28th, 2013 by Brian Maiorana

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center have discovered an enzyme responsible for DNA mutations in most forms of breast cancer. Their findings were recently published in Nature and have garnered major interest in the medical world for the potential impact of the discovery.MN Masonic Cancer Center

The potential breakthrough grew out of research in HIV. The research team, lead by Rueben Harris, Ph.D.,  analyzed and catalogued a group of enzymes that help the human body fend off the HIV virus. When the techniques they developed to analyze enzyme function in the HIV research was applied in their new breast cancer study, Dr. Harris and his team made a surprising discovery. The same enzyme (APOBEC3B) that worked to block the growth and spread of HIV in the body, actually caused genomic mutations in breast cancer cells, which increased mortality rates.

By pinpointing this enzyme as the key factor in the spread of cancerous cells a significant step in the race for the cure has been made. In the short term, a simple test for elevated levels of this enzyme could provide early warning before breast cancer actually appears. In the long term, drugs could be developed that block the enzyme from causing cell mutation, thus preventing breast cancer from developing at all in most people.

When the National Breast Cancer Awareness Fund read about this important new discovery we knew that we had to help, and immediately provided financial resources to the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Fund is proud to support cutting edge research in the search for the cure to breast cancer.

 

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