Scientists may have discovered a cure for the deadliest form of breast cancer

Breast cancer remains one of the deadliest forms of cancer for women in the United States, and it’s still the number one most common type — about one in eight women in the U.S. will develop it at some point in her life. And now, scientists may have discovered a cure for the deadliest form of breast cancer.

The study, done by researchers at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa in Canada, found successful results in treating the cancer in mice by combining two kinds of immunotherapies. The research led to cures in 60 to 90 percent of mice studied.

For those who don’t know, immunotherapy is a revolutionary form of treatment that helps the body’s immune system attack and destroy cancer cells. It’s been a key treatment for cancers like melanoma and leukemia, but many other kinds of cancers have remained resistant.

In the Ottawa study, researchers focused on combining two different kinds of immunotherapies to battle “triple negative” breast cancer, which is known as the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat type. Researchers saw that while these two immunotherapies were relatively successful on their own in treating other forms of cancer, they were not successful on their own when it came to treating triple negative. They discovered that combining the two was the most effective form of treatment.

And while this is definitely good news in terms of potential effective breast cancer treatment, it’s important to remember the methods have not been tested on humans, and therefor much is still unknown. Dr. Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault, lead author of the study, said,

"It was absolutely amazing to see that we could cure cancer in most of our mice, even in models that are normally very resistant to immunotherapy. We believe that the same mechanisms are at work in human cancers, but further research is needed to test this kind of therapy in humans."

While nothing is yet certain about this method, we’re hopeful that it’s a step in the right direction to beating triple negative breast cancer once and for all.