NEW DELHI: Scientists have identified a molecule, ERX-11 that can help treat breast cancer in patients that have become resistant to traditional treatments
ER- Breast cancers or Estrogen Receptor positive breast cancer accounts for 70% of breast cancers and require estrogen for their growth. The new molecule designed by the scientists shuts down oestrogen-sensitive receptors in a new way. The molecule targets a protein on the estrogen receptor of the targeted tumor cell and limits the reach of estrogen.
Traditional hormonal drugs, such as Tamoxifen (a selective estrogen-receptor modulator), work by attaching to a molecule called the oestrogen receptor in cancer cells, preventing oestrogen from binding to the receptor, hence preventing cancer cells from multiplying.
However, the oestrogen receptor can mutate and change its shape over time so that the treatment drug no longer fits neatly with the receptor and hence cancer cells start multiplying again.
"There has been intense interest in developing drugs that block the ability of the oestrogen receptor - the prime target in most breast cancers - from interacting with the co-regulator proteins that cause a tumour's growth," said David Mangelsdorf, professor at UT Southwestern.
The designed drug also blocks other molecular proteins called as co-factors that attaches itself to the estrogen receptor.