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Search for better breast cancer drugs

November 2006 - It is hoped that a joint initiative between computer scientists at the University of Edinburgh and cellular biologists at the Riken Genomic Research Centre in Japan will result in improved drug treatments for breast cancer sufferers that will also minimize side effects.

The five-year project will initially focus on why particular treatments for breast cancer only work in some individuals. Using clinical information from patients at the Edinburgh Breast Unit and Cancer Research Centre, it is hoped that it will be possible to target different types of drugs and combination therapies for prescription to individual patients. The database could also facilitate development of new drugs, with computer modelling an integral part of research.

Igor Goryanin, director of the Edinburgh Centre for Bioinformatics said:

"The computer systems will help the biologist to understand the function of the organisms and, with this knowledge, we will be able to predict more accurately which new and existing drugs work and why.

"We would hope to further our research and look at other cancers as well as diseases such as heart disease and neural and psychiatric diseases. Identifying which drugs have the best responses in particular patients would not only save lives but would also save the NHS money as treatment with expensive drugs can be tailor-made for whom it works."

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