The new study found a method to treat Breast Cancer that can kill 95% to 100% of cancer cells in mice-based analogs, along with their metastases in the brain, lungs, liver, and bones. The new study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The new drug, called ErSO, rapidly shrinks even large tumors to undetectable sizes. The study went forward under the purview of scientists from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Biochemistry Professor David Shapiro, lead author of the study at the University said that even when a few Breast Cancer cells do survive, enabling tumors to regrow over several months, the tumors that regrow remain completely sensitive to retreatment with ErSO.
Once it binds to the estrogen receptor, ErSO clears the way for cancer cells to enter a rapid growth phase, while also protecting them from excess stress. This pathway is called the anticipatory Unfolded Protein Response which hastens the production of proteins that shield the cell from damage. Shapiro explained the a-UPR is already on, but running at a low level, in many Breast Cancer. It turns out that this pathway shields cancer cells from being killed off by anti-cancer drugs.The a-UPR pathway was initially discovered in 2014 by Shapiro and Neal Andruska, a former U. of I. medical scholar. The pair reported their development of a compound capable of pushing the a-UPR pathway into overdrive, which can kill Breast Cancer that contains estrogen receptors.