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The real challenge of triple-negative breast cancer

Dompé commitment in oncology against cancer stem cells

  • The real challenge of triple-negative breast cancer, which accounts for 15-20% of the approximately 37,0001 cases that occur in every year in Italy alone, is represented by the cancer stem cells that are considered to be responsible for disease progression and the development of metastases.
  • Dompé researchers are currently studying reparixin, a molecule capable of directly influencing these tumour “strongholds”, which are resistant to currently available therapies.

Milan, 1 October 2014. The challenge facing modern oncology is to find a way to a direct attack against the “pulsating heart” of a tumour: i.e. the cancer stem cells (CSCs), containing all of the instructions for producing the new neoplastic cells that underlie disease progression and the development of metastases.

Today’s Workshop organised by the Italian Society of Immunology, Clinical Immunology and Allergology (SIICA) as part of the 3rd Conference of Translational Medicine on the Pathogenesis and Therapy of Immune-Mediated Diseasesbeing held at Humanitas Congress Centre makes Milan the one-day capital of research in this sector.

One of the major objectives of modern oncology is undoubtedly that of being able to attack CSCs directly because, as they are completely beyond the control of the body, they play a key role in the development of many types of cancer, in particular some forms of breast cancer. While it is true that hormonal therapy can act on estrogen-dependent cells and targeted therapies can control the disease in the presence of HER-2 positive receptors, it is still extremely difficult to treat triple-negative tumours because the cells do not have specific receptors that can be treated with targeted drugs. These forms account for 15-20% of the approximately 37,000 cases of breast cancer that occur in Italy every year, and the only currently available treatment is chemotherapy.

However, Italian researchers are developing an innovative approach to providing new therapeutic solutions, and Dompé is currently evaluating the therapeutic potential of reparixin, an experimental drug that acts by modifying the micro-environment in which CSCs develop and reproduce, and its use in other forms of cancer seems to be highly interesting. Reparixin acts on the mediators of inflammation that favour the development of CSCs, particularly some cytokines such as interleukin-8 (IL-8), and is currently being tested in a number of selected centres in the United States that are highly specialised in treating both metastatic and early-stage breast cancer (i.e. before the use of surgery).

“Reparixin represents the diamond cutting edge of our research, and Dompé is proud of its development,” explained Eugenio Aringhieri, CEO of the Dompé Group. “It could make all the difference to the treatment of a disease that can still only be treated by means of chemotherapy. It is precisely because of the potential of its innovative mechanism of action, which interferes one the key factors underlying the very existence of cancer cells, that we have established a development programme founded on a partnership with 15 centres of excellence in the United States. Our ambitious hope is that reparixin may also lead to a safe and efficacious therapeutic option in patients with other forms of cancer”..

1 Source: http://www.legatumori.it/page.php?id=1052&area=955 consulted on 22/09/2014