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Molecular Detection of Breast Cancer

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Annual rept. 9 Jan 97-8 Jan 98

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Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American women, with over 170,000 new cases and 50,000 deaths each year. Despite advances in detection and treatment, mortality from these diseases remains high. Traditional modes of treatment including radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy have been useful but are limited by the emergence of treatment-resistant cancer cells. Clearly new approaches are needed to treat these diseases. This project is designed to develop novel approaches to detect breast cancer cells that contaminate peripheral blood and bone marrow, and to remove such contaminating cells. An RT-PCR assay has been developed to detect breast cancer cells, and a novel gene therapy vector has been developed to kill contaminating cancer cells. Blood and bone marrow samples obtained from patients with breast cancer are being collected. These samples will be analyzed to determine whether the K19 RT-PCR assay can be used to predict outcome. Next, a gene therapy vector, the bcl-xs adenovirus, has been developed. This vector has promise as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of breast cancer. The work was chosen for a platform presentation at the DOD Breast Cancer meeting in Washington, D.C. in 1997. With additional support from the National Cancer Institute, this virus is undergoing toxicology testing in order to obtain FDA approval for human clinical trials for the treatment of breast cancer.

Subject Categories:

  • Biochemistry
  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Pharmacology

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