Research projects

Understanding exactly how invasive breast cancer cells break free

Dr Philippe Chavrier
Project period
Sep 2016 - Mar 2020
Research Institute
Institut Curie
Cancer types
Breast cancer
Dr Philippe Chavrier

Aim of the research

Dr Chavrier is working to understand how invasive breast cancer spreads around the body. His team aim to work out how and why cancer cells change, enabling them to break away from the original tumour.

Meet the scientist

Philippe Chavrier is a team leader at the Institute Curie in Paris and his team are interested in the "skeleton" and "skin" of the cell and how they contribute to the spread of cancer.

More about the research project

Breast cancer which has developed the ability to spread away from the original tumour is much more difficult to treat, and outlook for the patient is worse. But before they can develop new treatments targeting invasive breast cancer, scientists need to understand how breast cancer cells break away in the first place. Dr Chavrier and his team already know that a specific cell protein on the surface of invasive breast cancer cells can perforate surrounding cell layers and form "tunnels"- helping the cancer cell escape away to other parts of the body. And they recently found that it is the nucleus- the cell command centre- which gives the order for the protein to act. In this project the researchers will now investigate exactly how and why the nucleus makes this command, and what other proteins are involved in helping invasive breast cancer cells break free.

We believe that this work will help inform development of future breast cancer treatments, and will ultimately help breast cancer patients.
Dr Philippe Chavrier