Dr France Docquier with fellow scientists Dr Sushma Rai and Dr Christina Greenwood

Press release issued: 6 November 2009



Image of Dr France Docquier with fellow scientists Dr Sushma Rai and Dr Christina Greenwood
Dr France Docquier with fellow scientists Dr Sushma Rai and Dr Christina Greenwood
NEW treatments for breast cancer could become a reality after scientists in Essex made a breakthrough thanks to a study into the disease. The researchers screened cancerous and non-cancerous breast samples for the presence of one particular protein called CTCF.
Senior research fellow Dr France Docquier from the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity laboratory, said:

"We have discovered there are two different types of CTCF: a 'good' CTCF found in healthy breast tissues and a 'bad' CTCF found in cancerous breast tissues."

The team's findings paved the way to the front page of the top oncology journal Clinical Cancer Research (September issue) and holds hope for future treatment of the disease.
Image of Senior research scientist (Helen Rollason Cancer Charity) - Dr France Docquier
Senior research scientist (Helen Rollason Cancer Charity) - Dr France Docquier
Dr Docquier explained:

"The study indicates the two versions of the protein perform different functions in normal and cancerous breast cells. We showed that the 'bad' protein helps the breast cells to grow, but when cells stop growing the 'good' protein is present. Our findings are very exciting as they could result in a change in how breast cancer is treated in future years. New therapies could be developed to re-establish the 'good' protein, potentially resulting in the cancer cells becoming more like normal cells."

The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity laboratory worked in collaboration with the University of Essex and the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease, University College London, Institute of Neurology on this project, which was funded by the Breast Cancer Campaign and the Breast Cancer Research Trust.

Helen Rollason Cancer Charity manager Nicola Douglas said:

"This is fantastic news - the study has uncovered some fresh details on breast cancer which may offer patients access to new treatment options in the future. As a charity we are very pleased to know the contributions we receive from the community have resulted in a breast cancer breakthrough. It truly is an exciting time in the world of cancer research and treatment development and the charity is committed to joint-fund its cancer research laboratory with Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, Essex."

The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity funds vital research into the disease thanks to funding from the public. The charity marks its 10th anniversary this year of funding important research into the disease and providing cancer support centres for patients and their families.

The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity lab in Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, Essex, will be holding an open day on January 20, 2010 from 10am-4pm. The public is welcome to attend the open day to find out more about the laboratory and the charity.
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