'Revolutionary' breast cancer drug could vaccinate against disease
A revolutionary new drug that could prevent breast cancer has been developed by scientists.
If the drug is administered regularly to those who have a family history of the cancer, experts say it could, in effect, ‘vaccinate’ them against the disease.
The drug works by attacking tumours triggered by genetic defects and could mean thousands of women are saved the trauma of having their breasts removed. At present, a large percentage of women who have inherited the cancer gene choose to have a mastectomy as a preventative measure.
The BRCA gene, passed from mother to daughter, is the cause of 2,000 of the 44,000 cases of breast cancer in the UK every year. Those carrying the gene have an 85% chance of developing breast cancer and are eight times more likely to contract it than the average woman.
Medical researchers who developed the drug estimate the ‘vaccine’ will be available within a decade.
Dr Ruth Plummer of Newcastle University said of the new drug: ‘The implications for women and their families are huge because if you have the gene, there is a 50% risk you will pass it on to your children.’