Belgian scientists make cancer breakthrough

Scientists from Brussels Francophone free university ULB have concluded that the type of cells in which breast cancers develops can determine how aggressive the cancer will be. The results of the research are the subject of an article in Thursday’s edition of the Francophone daily ‘Le Soir’. The earlier the development of cancer cells can be plotted, the more effectively doctors can develop a personalized treatment programme to tackle the cancer.
McPHOTO / Widmann

Professor Cédric Blanpain and his team’s work appear in the scientific journal ‘Nature’. The most important discovery is that different types of tumour develop depending on the kind of cell in which they develop. The most aggressive tumours develop in mammary glands.

¨Professor Blanpain told ‘Le Soir’ that “The quicker we can ascertain in which type of cell breast cancer has developed, the better we can predict how the cancer cells with further develop. This enables us to give patients a more personalised treatment”.

The researchers analysed the various stages of development of tumours. The reactive PIK3CA gene undergoes molecular mutation completely differently according to the type of cell in which it has developed.

"Based on this information, we can further sub-categorize tumors that now appear very similar. Tumors that look very similar apparently behave very differently”, Professor Blainpain explains.

"We can use this knowledge with, for example, former breast cancer patients that fear that they might have relapsed or with women that think that the run a genetically-determined higher risk of breast cancer”, Professor Blanpain added.