Health Watch — Breast Cancer: Testing New Drugs

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October has been National Breast Cancer Awareness month, so as the month draws to a close, it’s a good time to talk about breast cancer. Researchers around the world are hard at work on cures and treatments for breast cancer, and scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a new way to tell if a drug may be effective for fighting cancer.

Some cancer drugs work by cutting off the blood supply to the tumor. Researchers altered breast cancer tumor cells to incorporate the gene that makes fireflies glow, then used special equipment and chemicals to see how the glow from those cells is affected by the drug. That showed whether the drug really worked to cut off blood supply. Dr. Ralph Mason, a UT Southwestern radiologist who led the study, says this technique is meant for research rather than for diagnosing cancer. What it does is help scientists know if they’re on the right track in developing cancer-fighting drugs.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in radiology.


October 2008

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