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An experimental drug that can virtually halt the deadly spread of breast cancer has been tested by scientists.
Researchers are now working with a biotechnology company to prepare the compound for patient trials.
The new research builds on previous studies of a gene called Bc13 that appears to play a critical role in the spread of breast cancer.
Scientists at Cardiff University conducted computer simulations to work out how Bc13 functioned and then blocked it.
In tests on mice, the researchers first deleted the gene and then explored ways of inhibiting it with a drug.They found the right candidate compound by screening a library of chemicals until one was found that could target Bc13.
When mice with metastatic breast cancer were treated with the compound, the spread of tumours to the lungs and other parts of the body was dramatically reduced.