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Indian-born Jackmil Jogy recently studied the effectiveness of a new selenium compound for treating triple-negative breast cancer.
Dr Jogy said the triple-negative form was "one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer".
About 15% of breast cancers were triple-negative, and they also lacked a "targeted treatment" by drugs.
The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation estimates about 3300 women and 25 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in this country every year, and there are more than 600 deaths.
Her recent research showed that one selenium compound, diphenyl diselenide (DPDS), was a "promising" anti-cancer drug and should be progressed into pre-clinical trials, she said.
Dr Jogy, who recently shifted to Melbourne, said DPDS could provide targeted therapy with few or no side effects.
It could take about five years for the compound to enter clinical trials, if preliminary results were still "looking good", she said.