Sandra Musujusu, A female student of the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja, has developed an alternative treatment for triple negative breast cancer commonly found in black women, according to the Nigerian Tribune.
A study found that African American women are 3 times more likely than white or Hispanic women to be diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, 30% of the breast cancers diagnosed in African American women were triple-negative.
That same study on breastcancer.org reports that Triple-negative breast cancers are usually more aggressive, harder to treat, and more likely to come back (recur) than cancers that are hormone-receptor-positive or HER2-positive. Triple-negative breast cancers don’t usually respond to hormonal therapy medicines or the targeted therapies.
Musujusu’s research, using macromolecular science is aimed at developing bio-degradable polymer material which could be used as alternative for the treatment of breast cancer in the near future. This was made known when the World Bank Education Director, Dr Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi with his team visited the University as part of his assessment tour of the 10 African Centers of Excellence (ACE) centers.
The World Bank has committed about $10 billion for the ACE project in Nigeria, as part of efforts to encourage conduct of cutting-edge research and specialization of the beneficiaries institutions in specific development problems faced in Nigeria and indeed the African continent.
The Sierra Leone native expressed “My research is actually centered on the development of bio-degradable polymers for treatment of breast cancer, I will be focusing on triple negative breast cancer which is actually the aggressive sub-type of breast cancer that is common with women from African ancestry.”
“I believe there is a bright future for Africa, and as a woman, there is much more we can do if we are empowered,” she continued. “This award given to me by PAMI has empowered me to face my studies with more confidence and actually contribute to the frontier of knowledge and move Africa forward.”
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women around the world. In 2012, there were 1.7 million new cases worldwide, according to World Cancer Research Fund International. In the United States alone, black women with breast cancer have the highest mortality rate than any other race.
Photo credit: Nigerian tribune