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Scientists discover first breast cancer ‘oncogene’ for five years

February 18, 2011

Dr. Sam Aparicio, the Agency’s head of breast cancer research, co-led a UK-based study that discovered a new cancer-causing gene, ZNF703, that when overactive, triggers the development of a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer. Patients could be tested for ZNF703 over activity, so their treatment could be tailored accordingly, and larger studies could pave the way for developing treatments that specifically target the gene. Testing for ZNF703 activity could also help reveal if patients are likely to respond to treatment, in the same way that testing for Her2 gene activity in breast cancer patients is used to reveal if she may benefit from Herceptin.