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Studying breast cancer resistance to tamoxifen

  • Researcher: Dr Colin Clyne
  • Institution: Prince Henrys Institute
  • Award Amount: £210,816 for 3 years from June 2013
  • Cancer Type: Breast Cancer
Studying breast cancer resistance to tamoxifen

Most breast cancers rely on a hormone called oestrogen to grow. These cancers can be treated with anti-oestrogen therapies that stop the hormone from working, such as the drug tamoxifen. However, resistance to hormone therapy is very common, and most patients experience the cancer coming back, called a relapse. We do not yet fully understand how cancer cells become resistant to tamoxifen. A protein was recently identified that predicts whether patients treated with tamoxifen are likely to relapse or not. This protein is found in much higher numbers in tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells, but it is not yet known how the protein functions and is able to distinguish between cancers that are affected by tamoxifen and those that aren't. Dr Clyne and his team plan to investigate how the protein affects the growth and behaviour of breast cancer cells. They hope that this work will identify new functions for this protein and help us to understand how resistance to tamoxifen happens at a molecular level.

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