Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The study, published in the scientific journal Nature, has uncovered a genetic vulnerability present in nearly 10% of all breast cancer tumours, and found a way to target this vulnerability and selectively kill cancer cells.

Digital 3d illustration of cancer cells in human body

Each year, over five thousand newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer in the UK alone will carry this particular genetic fault, a proportion roughly double that driven by hereditary mutations such as those in the well-known BRCA genes.

A University of Oxford team of scientists led by Professor Ross Chapman (MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine) working together with researchers working at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA, discovered that cells originating from a specific subset of human breast cancer tumours, could be killed with a chemical that inhibits PLK4, an enzyme important for a specialized part of a cell called the centrosome. A cell’s centrosomes performs important functions during cell division, where it regulates the process in which copies of each chromosome are accurately segregated between two identical daughter cells. Normally, cells have safety mechanisms that protect them from losing their centrosomes. But the researchers discovered that these breast cancer cells could not survive without centrosomes.

The full story is available on the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine website

The story is also featured on the University of Oxford website

Similar stories

Reducing fat in the diabetic heart could improve recovery from heart attack

New research from the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics has shown that in type 2 diabetes an overload of lipids reduces the heart’s ability to generate energy during a heart attack, decreasing chances of recovery.

Brain cortex may regulate the need for sleep

Why we sleep, and the processes behind sleep, are amongst the most interesting questions in modern neuroscience.

New data show rise in hospital admissions for unvaccinated pregnant women

The Chief Midwifery Officer for England will urge expectant mums to have their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. This follows a worrying rise in unvaccinated women being admitted to hospital with severe COVID-19, and evidence that the Delta variant poses a significantly greater risk than all previous strains.

Cooking with coal or wood associated with increased risk of major eye diseases

A study involving nearly half a million people in China reveals a clear link between cooking with wood or coal, and an increased risk of major eye diseases that can lead to blindness, according to a report published today in PLOS Medicine.

The mental health impacts of being an Olympian

Dr David M. Lyreskog, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Psychiatry explores the topic in detail.

Oxford's COVID African Innovation Seed Fund announced

Five graduate students currently studying at Oxford, including two Medical Sciences students, have been awarded £1,000 grants from the Vice Chancellor’s COVID-19 African Innovation Seed Fund for entrepreneurial projects aimed at addressing global challenges stemming from the pandemic.