ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Washington University researchers have completed a major analysis of the genetics of breast cancer, finding four major classes of the disease and the fundamental differences between the subtypes.

The study’s co-leader, Dr. Matthew Ellis, says these findings could lead to new breast cancer treatments.

“There’s types of therapies now for melanoma and lung cancer and colon cancer and leukemia and we see subsets of breast cancer that have genetic relationships with these other forms of cancer,” Ellis said. “So can we reach across and grab those drugs approved for other purposed and re-purpose them for breast cancer?”

Ellis and his team of researchers found a form of breast cancer that looked just like a form of ovarian cancer and they’re hoping the already-proven ovarian cancer treatment could work in these breast cancer patients as well.

But Ellis says translating all these new insights into treatments or even cures could take years.

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