Washington: Treating breast cancer by delivering chemotherapy through the nipple is highly effective in animal models of early breast cancer, and has no major side effects in human patients, a new study led by an Indian-origin researcher has found.“Our results support the theory that by treating the breast tissue directly we can reach a much more potent drug concentration where it is needed, with far fewer adverse effects on tissues outside the breasts,” says oncologist Vered Stearns, M.D., Ph.D., the Breast Cancer Chair in Oncology and co-director of the Breast Cancer Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, who supervised the clinical part of the study.Saraswati Sukumar, the Barbara B. Rubenstein Professor of Oncology at the Kimmel Cancer Center, and co-director with Stearns of the Breast Cancer Program, began intraductal research more than a decade ago, reasoning that because most breast cancers originate from cells lining the milk ducts, early or preventive therapies should be delivered directly to the ducts via the nipple, rather than intravenously. In 2006, Sukumar and her colleagues reported on an initial successful test of the technique using the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin against early ductal breast cancers in rats. For the current study, Stearns set up a small clinical trial to determine the feasibility of Sukumar’s technique in 17 breast cancer patients.
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