Tuesday 31 March 2015 4:11pm
Dr Anita Dunbier is profiled in He Kitenga about her research in breast cancer including investigating a potential role for aspirin.
"Anti-oestrogen drugs are currently a staple treatment for breast cancers, 80 per cent of which are oestrogen-receptor positive. Some of these treatments block the synthesis of oestrogen in the body, effectively starving the tumour of its hormonal sustenance. 'That stops cancer cells from growing, but the tumour cells then send out help signals and the body’s immune cells rush to their aid. So what we’re trying to do is stop the ambulance coming to help."
Dunbier hopes that the humble aspirin – no longer under patent and therefore often overlooked by researchers – may prove an effective ambulance-stopper. Published studies, she says, have shown that women taking aspirin, typically for cardiac or stroke prevention reasons, were less likely to develop breast cancer than others who weren’t. Equally, women with breast cancer who took aspirin appeared half as likely to have it recur.
Read the full story in He Kitenga:
- Genetic clues: Could the humble aspirin be effective in the fight against breast cancer? He Kitenga, December 2014, University of Otago website