AICR Gives Breast Cancer Research A Boost
AICR has awarded £183,000 to a study investigating what causes the tiny growth present during the first stages of breast cancer to develop into a much larger tumour. Professor Louise Jones, of Queen Mary, University of London, will carry out the research. Professor Jones has already discovered that normal breast cells - myoepithelial cells - which usually slow down the growth of tumours, appear to lose this ability after starting to produce a protein, called avB6 integrin, on their surface. She’ll now look at how these myoepithelial cells prevent the growth of early tumours and the role the altered cells play in encouraging their growth into full blown tumours. Her work will determine whether avB6 integrin can be used to help diagnose more serious breast tumours and whether blocking its activity might be a way to treat these cancers.
Dr Mark Matfield, AICR’s Scientific Co-ordinator said: “Despite the tremendous advances in treating breast cancer over the last 20 years, we still have a poor understanding of how it develops and why it recurs so often. Professor Jones’s research should give us a crucial insight into one of the key stages in the development of this disease.”
Professor Louise Jones said: "We are seeing these early breast lesions in patients much more frequently now and it is essential we discover better ways of predicting their behaviour and develop new targets for treatment. This study, funded by AICR, will take us a step closer to these goals."