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Scientists Turn Breast Cancer Cells Into Fat, Stops Disease From Spreading, Report Says

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A scientific breakthrough may give many women new hope of stopping the spread of breast cancer.

A group of researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland say they have successfully transformed breast cancer cells into fat – rendering them harmless and stopped the disease from moving to other parts of the body.

The team experimented on mice which had been implanted with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Their research found that treating the test subjects with a diabetic drug (rosiglitazone) and a cancer treatment (trametinib) triggered the amazing cell change.

"A combination of rosiglitazone and trametinib efficiently inhibits cancer cell invasion, dissemination, and metastasis formation in various preclinical mouse models of breast cancer," the team declared in the medical journal Cancer Cell.

The process – called adipogenesis – caused the deadly breast cancer cells to fail to metastasize like they normally would. The scientists added that they believe this change was a permanent benefit to their patients.

"As far as we can tell from long-term culture experiments, the cancer cells-turned-fat cells remain fat cells and do not revert back to breast cancer cells," Prof. Gerhard Christofori, the study's lead researcher said earlier this year.

The team said that although not every single cancer cell was transformed in the mice, changing a large portion of the tumor into fat left the remaining cancer vulnerable to treatments like chemotherapy.

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