The clinical trials for possible treatment of TNBC will soon begin at Wits University
Molecular and cell biology researchers at Wits University have developed a potential treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, the most aggressive subtype of breast cancer known to affect younger women.
The second phase of the clinical trials for the triple–negative breast cancer (TNBC) treatment developed by the Wits team will start next year in three Johannesburg hospitals once the funding is secured.
Lead researcher and professor of molecular and cell biology at Wits, associate professor Mandeep Kaur, said patients will be enrolled in the trial depending on the stage of their disease.
“The first half of the trial will attempt to find a suitable dose required to treat [a] solid tumour in about 50 patients. Once the dose is established, it will be tested on about 150 patients to establish the efficacy of the compound,” Kaur said.
TNBC is a type of aggressive breast cancer with poor prognosis that has no targeted drug to treat it, and it spreads quickly in African women patients, Kaur said.
Kaur said the new treatment has the potential to improve the recovery rate of TNBC patients.
“If successful in clinical trials, and if it is approved as a drug, the treatment would be able to heal cancer in the early stages and it will be able to significantly slow the growth of [a] solid tumour,” said Kaur. “This could lead to longer survival of patients and better quality of life,” she added.
Professor Marianne Cronje, the head of school in molecular and cell biology at Wits, said even though the project is costly, the research plays an important role in the school and is valued.
“As [–the head of school] I provide support for all the research endeavours in the school in whatever capacity I am able to do so,” she said.
Kaur told Wits Vuvuzela that her team is working on new projects to test the treatment on other forms of cancer, “We are currently testing in a laboratory [to see] if this compound can be used in conjunction with other available drugs to enhance the efficacy of current drugs,” she said.
FEATURED IMAGE: A team from Wits University is hoping to start trials on a new TNBC treatment once funding is secured. Photo: Zikhona Klaas.
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