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Testing of an experimental drug showed that the new treatment may reduce the spread of breast cancer into bones, researchers say.
A study published in the November 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research explained that a drug called Y27632 was found to inhibit the production of a protein which is prevalent in metastatic breast cancer, HealthDay News reports.
According to researchers, inhibiting the protein, called Rho-associated kinase (ROCK), in the early stages of the disease decreased the overall frequency of cancer spread by 36 percent and lowered the spread of cancer into bone by 77 percent.
"While the primary tumor causes significant illness and requires treatment, metastasis accounts for over 90 percent of breast cancer-related deaths," said Dr Michael Rosenblatt, professor of physiology at Tufts University School of Medicine.
He added, "Establishing ROCK's role in the spread of breast cancer and testing agents to inhibit ROCK brings us one step closer to an approach that might reduce metastasis in the future."
Rosenblatt and his colleagues concluded that the protein makes a good target for testing new drug treatments to prevent the spread of breast cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available, a total of 41,116 women and 375 men died from breast cancer.
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