A new drug based on a natural compound found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other vegetables may be effective in reversing or even preventing resistance to breast cancer hormone therapy, according to a scientific report.
Portuguese scientist Bruno Simões and other scientists at the University of Manchester, UK, have discovered that the drug SFX-01 may reverse or even prevent resistance to treatment by blocking a major cancer signalling route called STAT3.
The drug was developed with a British company that stabilised the sulforaphane compound, which US researchers had already shown to affect cancer treatment, and which Bruno Simões and his colleagues tested on mice to ensure that the stabilised molecule had the same impact.
A clinical test was then carried out on more than 40 patients, which concluded that 25% saw their cancer stop progressing during the six months they received treatment.
“Many of these cancers eventually develop resistance to treatment. What we have shown is that this compound can eliminate cells that are resistant to treatment,” Simões stated.
The result of the study was published on Saturday in the ‘Oncogene’ publication, linked to the scientific journal Nature, and represents, according to Simões, an example of translational research, which started from a basic investigation of the biological mechanism and had a real application, being now in clinical trials.
This drug will continue to be developed with more clinical tests to test efficacy, but Simões, who graduated from the Faculty of Sciences in Lisbon and completed his PhD in Bilbao, Spain, intends to focus on research into prevention mechanisms.