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Breakthrough in breast cancer treatment welcomed by lawyers

The Institute for Cancer Research has developed a pioneering new breast cancer treatment which could prevent the growth of breast cancer. 

Breast cancer crisis in the UK

Every year at least 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer and 11,500 women die from the disease each year. Waiting times for cancer diagnosis and treatment are worsening, and leading oncologists have warned that breast cancer treatment in particular is facing a crisis due to a lack of specialist clinicians to deliver the treatment. 

Dr Simon Vincent, Director of Research, Support and Influencing at Breast Cancer Now said: “This exciting research could lead to much-needed targeted treatments for people with breast cancer, and with one person dying from breast cancer every 45 minutes in the UK, new treatments like these are urgently needed.”

A pioneering breakthrough

Breast cancer is traditionally treated through chemotherapy and radiotherapy which target the cancer cells directly. An increasingly common but lesser-known treatment for cancer is immunotherapy which helps the body’s immune system recognise and kills cancer cells.

Researchers have adapted a method of immunotherapy specifically for breast cancer called CAR-T. This works by removing the patient’s healthy immune cells and modifying them to attack and kills the cancerous cells. It's also thought that this method will lead to fewer side effects from the treatment compared with traditional immunotherapy. 

This method has been used to treat some form of blood cancers but has never been applied to breast cancer before. 

Dr Francis Turrell, co-leader of the study at the Institute of Cancer Research said: “This is the very first study that demonstrates the effectiveness of using endosialin-directed CAR-T cells to reduce breast cancer tumour growth and spread.”

The same method has been trialled on lung cancer tumours in mice with similar successful results indicating the use of this method across other cancers. 

The recent findings from these studies are welcomed, however human trials for this new method are not expected to begin for at least two years to ensure the therapy is suitable for human patients. Although the research is in early stages, the early signs suggest that there is a way of targeting processes which help tumours thrive which could be applied to a wide range of cancer types.

Support for patients 

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK which can have devastating consequences for the patient and their families. I have seen the impact that such a diagnosis can have on a person and their loved ones first hand in my work as a clinical negligence solicitor. It is vital that cancer is diagnosed and treated at the earliest possible opportunity to give people the best outcomes; however, this is not always possible and there are an increasing delays in diagnosing and treating cancers due to the increased waiting times and current demands on the NHS. 

As a medical negligence lawyer supporting people affected by cancer, I welcome any new treatments that can minimise the growth of the disease and give patients the best chance at a good outcome.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise at our dedicated cancer claims section.



New treatment could ‘disrupt’ growth of breast cancer tumours”