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Breaking-up the breast cancer ‘chain-gang’

With her new Worldwide Cancer Research grant Professor Clare Isacke at the Institute of Cancer Research is investigating the complex support system breast cancer cells need to grow and spread- and how to break this support so they are more vulnerable to treatment.

Professor Isacke is particularly interested in how breast cancer cells interact with surrounding cells and tissue structures. These cells and structures act like a ‘chain-gang’, bringing the breast cancer cells the support and nutrients they need.

The team will study how one particular protein, Endo180, which is found on the surface of some of the surrounding cells, may help to drive breast cancer growth and spread. See more about how our research has helped uncover a role for Endo180 in prostate cancer here.

Once breast cancer has spread treatments become more limited. This is why Professor Isacke and her team want to develop new treatment strategies to help these women in particular.

“Personally I think this project is extremely exciting,” says Professor Isacke. “We now know that cancer cells rely on a complex support system to help them evade therapies. Removing this support system provides a unique opportunity to limit cancer spread and make them more vulnerable to therapeutic attack."

See more of our breast cancer research here.