Stopping breast cancer spread
Despite the remarkable advances towards understanding breast cancer, most breast cancer related deaths are due to the onset of distant metastases (the spreading of cancer cells to form secondary tumours around the body) and a poor response to current therapies. One subtype of breast cancer, called triple negative breast cancer, has a particularly high frequency of spreading and poor response to standard therapies. This subtype represents ~15% of all breast cancers, and has the worst outcome, making the development of new treatment strategies is a priority.
Professor Morag Park explains “We have identified an alteration found in 60% of this subtype of breast cancer that contributes to cancer spread. This project aims to understand the mechanism through which this change, involving loss of function of a gene called Kibra, causes the disease to spread. We have developed mouse models that accurately mimic human breast cancer that lack the Kibra gene. We will identify how Kibra acts to stop breast cancer spread and how its loss enhances tumour cell invasion into neighbouring tissues. Our ultimate goal is to develop new therapeutic strategies to treat patients with triple negative breast cancer.”