NEW YORK, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Triple negative breast cancer is a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, highly metastatic and causes about 20% of breast cancer incidences worldwide. Unlike estrogen or progesterone cell surface receptor- type breast cancers, isolating an effective receptor for triple negative breast cancer has yet to be found—to develop a blocking molecule or inhibitor. Recently however, a renowned medical team collaborating with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and with the ongoing support of science philanthropist, Jeffrey Epstein, have identified a possible triple negative receptor to target for blocking.
Published in the journal Cancer Cell, the research team used several mouse models to see what predominantly fueled the growth of triple negative breast tumor cells. The study revealed that the tumor cells were heavily dependent on, and fueled by increased levels of cytokines and chemokines, proteins which play a key function in balancing immune responses and cell signaling.
The study then went a step further and tested a preliminary molecule to block the cytokine pathway. So far the therapy has shown promising results on causing triple negative necrosis or cell death.
"Finding a unique receptor for triple negative breast cancer has been an elusive battle," Jeffrey Epstein remarked, whose foundation, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, provides ongoing funding to Mount Sinai's work. "Isolating the pathways that regulate cytokines and chemokines could be the major breakthrough for an effective inhibitor drug."
Today, triple negative breast cancer accounts for about 15 to 20% of breast cancer incidences worldwide, effecting mostly younger women of Hispanic and African descent. And interestingly, about 80% of women with the more widespread BRCA1-positive breast cancer are found to have triple negative breast cancer cells as well.
In addition to funding key research at Mount Sinai, Jeffrey Epstein is also the founder of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University which has published groundbreaking studies on the evolution of cancer and infectious diseases such as HIV. The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation also supports innovative science research around the world including the work of numerous Nobel Laureates.