by Steven Ertelt
November 30, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading biochemist who has published internationally-respected studies on breast cancer and a top pro-life organization both reacted to a study released Thursday showing the RU 486 abortion drug helped suppress the breast cancer gene in mice. They agreed the drug will not likely benefit humans.
The University of California study showed that the RU 486 abortion drug works to suppress the progesterone hormone that triggers the breast cancer gene to produce cancerous tumors.
But Dr. Joel Brind, a Yale-educated endocrinologist who teaches biology at Baruch College in New York, told LifeNews.com he doesn’t think the drug will offer any benefit to women.
"There is reason to believe that RU 486 as an anti-progestin might suppress growth of breast cancer in an experimental system in rodents, but RU 486 also neutralizes the essential hormone cortisol which mice do not make," Brind said.
"Therefore, there is good reason to believe that such a drug would not be an effective anti-cancer drug in people," he told LifeNews.com.
Brind said that the abortion pill’s backers have been trying for over twenty years to find legitimate medical use for the drug without success.
"It has been tried in certain forms of benign tumors in people, namely benign meningiomas and uterine fibroids, and it isn’t effective," the researcher said.
Dr. Randy O’Bannon, director of the education department at the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews.com that his group has never opposed any potential lifesaving application from the abortion drug.
Though he doubts the drug will ultimately help patients, he said the Population Action Council, a pro-abortion group that holds the rights to the drug, has been more worried about promoting abortions than assisting women.
"If there turn out to be such applications, it is likely that they would have been found much sooner, and saved a lot more lives, if the researchers and patent holders hadn’t poured all their time, money and energy into promoting its use for abortion, the killing of unborn children," O’Bannon said.
Other researchers also urged women and the general public to not get excited about the abortion drug’s potential to treat patients.
"This is work in a mouse," Dr. Claudine Isaacs, an oncologist at Georgetown University Hospital, told the Associated Press about the new study. "It’s clearly too early to start recommending use of this agent."
Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the American Cancer Society’s deputy chief medical officer, agreed and told AP "it would not be appropriate in any way, shape or form that women start taking RU-486 for this purpose."
Eva Lee, the UC biologist who conducted the study, also warned AP that the abortion drug isn’t the answer for women with breast cancer, saying it could suppress the immune system and cause other long-term problems.
She said the drug wouldn’t be used to help women and that another similar drug that more specifically targeted the progesterone hormone would need to be developed.