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Understanding the causes of early onset breast cancer

  • Researcher: Professor Kevin Hiom
  • Institution: University of Dundee, Scotland
  • Award Amount: £211,312 for 3 years from August 2015
  • Cancer Type: Breast Cancer
Understanding the causes of early onset breast cancer
Professor Hiom is working to understand the causes of early onset breast cancer- which is diagnosed in women under 40 years old. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, with latest figures suggesting around 1.5 million new cases diagnosed every year.* Women with early onset breast cancer often have a fault in either their BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. However for approximately half of women with this type of breast cancer, this is not the case. Professor Hiom and his team have recently found that a cell protein called Abro is important for regulating the activity of BRCA1. They now want to understand if changes in Abro might affect the function of BRCA1 and therefore could lead to cancer- even if BRCA1 is not faulty. “If our research is successful,” says Professor Hiom, “we could potentially develop a way to identify which patients have problems with Abro, and then monitor them closely for the development of cancer. In addition, our increased understanding of how Abro works might help us improve how we treat breast cancer patients, and potentially develop more effective cancer treatments.” * Latest statistics from Cancer Research UK
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