UCLouvain achieves advances in the fight against breast cancer


Belgian researchers from UCLouvain have discovered a drug to prevent breast cancer recurrence and metastasis. This is a world first that could revolutionise the treatment and follow-up of breast cancer.

Pierre Sonveaux, an FNRS researcher at the Institute for Experimental and Clinical Research of the UCLouvain, and his team have been working on this project for more than seven years now. The researchers have identified that MitoQ, a drug developed for diseases other than cancer, can drastically reduce the risk of metastasis and local relapse in this type of cancer. To reach that conclusion, the researchers treated mice with human breast cancer in the same way they would treat cancer patients in a hospital, by combining surgery and chemotherapy, but added the famous molecule MitoQ. This allowed them to demonstrate not only that the molecule is compatible with chemotherapies, but also that this treatment could simultaneously prevent relapses (75% of cases) and metastases (80% of cases), which are the main causes of mortality. In contrast, the majority of mice not treated had their cancer recur and spread.

So this was definitely successful in mice. But what about humans? MitoQ has already successfully completed Phase 1 clinical testing to determine the molecule's toxicity in humans. The drug must now be tested on cancer patients before it can be administered on a larger scale.

But the signs are promising!