London, Feb 28: British scientists claimed to have developed a medicine which if given to those with a family history of the disease could be effectively ''vaccinated'' against it. The drug known as AGO14699 will block BRCA genes-- women inherit from their mothers-- from repairing their DNA and thus destroying their chances of multiplying.
The flawed genes were responsible for 2000 of the 44000 cases of breast cancer each year in the UK. Presently under tests in Newcastle upon Tyne, the drug could be made available within a decade, the researchers said. Wmen who inherit the genes from their mother were 85 per cent more prone to develop the disease than an average woman. The drug, which attacks tumours caused by genetic flaws, could also be free of the side-effects associated with other cancer treatments, including pain, nausea and hair loss. The researchers say the drug could also be used against other forms of cancer, including prostate and pancreatic, although further tests are needed.
''The implications for women and their families are huge because if you have the gene, there is a 50 per cent risk you will pass it on to your children. You are carrying a time bomb,'' Daily Mail quoted Dr Ruth Plummer, senior lecturer in medical oncology at Newcastle University, as saying.