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Nipple Injections May Cut Breast Cancer Therapy Side Effects

Update Date: Oct 04, 2013 01:02 PM EDT

Injecting breast cancer medications via the nipple may spare healthy regions of the body from debilitating side effects, according to scientists.

Researchers said the new technique for breast cancer treatment and prevention, which has been demonstrated on mice, provides direct access to the milk ducts, the most common origin of breast cancer. Researchers said the new method- injection of therapeutics via the nipple- spares healthy regions of the body from the side effects of cancer therapy.

"Local delivery of therapeutic agents into the breast, through intra-nipple injection, could diminish the side effects typically observed with systemic chemotherapy-where the toxic drugs pass through all of the tissues of the body," study author Dr. Silva Krause said in a news release. "It also prevents drug breakdown by the liver, for example, which can rapidly reduce effective drug levels."

Krause and her team have already begun experimenting with the new technique.

"The authors have utilized this technique to inject a new nanoparticle-based therapeutic that inhibits a specific gene that drives breast cancer formation," said Krause. "This targeted treatment was shown to prevent cancer progression in mice that spontaneously develop mammary tumors."

Researchers plan to publish their study in the Journal of Visualized Experiments.

"Because the reader can actually watch the process and see how reagents, instruments, and animals are physically handled over time, the likelihood of reproducing this method in their own labs is greatly enhanced," Krause explained.

"We believe this will help spread this new technical capability to many labs who are carrying out breast cancer research," she concluded. 

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