Recent Work

We are supporting Cardiff University’s European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute

We are supporting Cardiff University’s European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute with ground-breaking work they are doing on a finding new therapies for a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer.

The Institute is working on research into a form of breast cancer called ‘triple negative breast cancer’ or TNBC. This tends to be more aggressive and cannot be treated with hormonal therapy or trastuzumab, a common breast cancer treatment.

Researchers at the Institute have found a ‘molecular switch’ called LYN which exists at high levels in TNBC. It is particularly active in TNBC that develops in patients with a defective BRCA1 breast cancer gene.

In the laboratory, the researchers have found that BRCA1-TNBC cancer is very sensitive to blocking LYN and is killed by this approach. More needs to be found out about the physical properties and biology of LYN so that compounds can be developed that could be used in patients.

We are supporting the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute by helping to fund studies of this ‘molecular switch’, which will form the basis of the development of new therapies for breast cancer patients.

When discoveries such as this are made, a lot of work needs to go into taking the science from the lab to the bedside. It often involves many small steps that are often expensive. We are helping by giving the Institute flexible support so that they can direct their research down a number of different possible approaches.

 Other research programmes the Institute is working on include looking at how breast cancers develop resistance to new treatments and how to overcome that resistance, as well as more basic studies of breast cancer biology which aim to improve understanding of the cellular and genetic interactions that cause different sorts of breast cancer.

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ICR’s research into liquid biopsy tests

ICR’s research into liquid biopsy tests

The ICR is at the center of ground-breaking research into liquid biopsy tests, which can predict which breast cancer patients will relapse. These new blood tests will mean women can benefit from targeted treatment without the need for uncomfortable biopsies.

We are supporting the ICR by helping to fund this kind of ground-breaking research.

The liquid biopsies use genetic techniques to detect breast cancer DNA in the blood stream. It sho

ws whether a patient is responding to treatment, when a treatment is stopping working, and gives valuable information on the next treatment to try.

The next step for the ICR with this exciting development is to demonstrate that it leads to better outcomes for breast cancer patients. They are currently recruiting patients to a trial that will identify mutations in metastatic breast cancer of individu

al patients and try to match them with specific targeted treatment.

The results of the trial will be available in around two years’ time, and the ICR expects the blood tests to be used in the NHS in the next five years.

This is a very fast-moving area and one that BCRA is excited to be supporting.

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