Melbourne: Australian researchers have discovered a "genetic switch" that can make breast cancer cells more responsive to different kinds of treatments.The switch allows scientists to change breast cancer cells and make them more responsive to treatments, such as anti-oestrogen therapies.Researchers from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney found that the molecule known as ELF5 can turn genes on or off.By manipulating the molecule, the breast cancer cell`s sensitivity to anti-oestrogen drugs used to treat breast cancer can be increased."We`ve made a discovery that concerns the basic biology of breast cancer. ELF5 determines whether cells will respond to oestrogen therapy or not," said Professor Chris Ormandy.Oestrogen plays a key role in breast cancers. Women who don`t experience much hormone in their lives either because they start menstruating later in life or begin menopause early have a lower risk of breast cancer.The finding establishes for the first time that there is a link between the molecule and breast cancer, the report said.Found in all breast cells, the molecule was discovered by Ormandy`s team in 1999. In 2008 his group showed that it triggered milk production in women.
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