Researchers at the Mohn Cancer Research Laboratory, together with researchers at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK, have conducted extensive work on mapping genetic changes in metastatic breast cancer. Knowledge like this is essential for the development of new therapies.
Professor Per Eystein Lønning and researcher Stian Knappskog, together with two British researchers, who are the main authors, is behind an article published last week in Cancer Cell. They have mapped what happens from a patient getting breast cancer until the cancer spreads to other organs in the body.
The work started four years ago and 163 samples from patients have been mapped. The majority of them are from Haukeland University Hospital.
– Earlier, we could only look at a single gene at a time. Thanks to new technology, it is now possible to do a broad survey of all genes relevant to the disease, explains Knappskog.
The researchers have looked at the changes in the metastatic tumour and compared these with the first tumour in the chest. They emphasize the importance of understanding which cancer cells survive treatment in order to develop better targeted treatment for patients with proliferation in the future
– In the long term, I think today’s research will enable us to cure breast cancer with proliferation. I do not know when it happens, but I am optimistic and am sure it will happen, says Professor Lønning.