Scientists discover breast cancer spreading gene

US researchers have discovered the gene that speeds up the spread of breast cancer. The gene also assists in making the cancerous cells resistant to chemotherapy.

The research indicated that aggressive breast cancers have abnormal genetic altercations in a gene called MTDH. If the cancer drugs target this gene, the survival chances of the patients could increase.

According to physicians, it is very pertinent to stop the spread of cancer. In case of patients where the cancer has not spread the chances of survival are 98 percent. But the chances of survival decrease substantially if the cancer has spread. In such cases the chances of survival are only 27 percent. 

The researchers detected that some breast tumors contained eight copies of the MTDH while in normal DNA sequences only two copies of this gene could be found. It was also found that 40% of the breast cancer patients had this "bad prognosis" gene. This shows hope for the patients as new therapies could alleviate the disease.

However, Dr. Ben Park, a breast cancer researcher at John Hopkins, had apprehension regarding the research. He feels that since the research had been conducted on sample from breast cancer tumors and thereafter on laboratory mice. Therefore, it would not be safe to use it for clinical purposes.