Research towards personalised treatment
The National Breast Cancer Foundation funds research into making treatments for breast cancer more effective through a personalised approach that looks at each tumour and each individual to determine which treatment path will help them survive and keep up their quality of life.
Finger prick blood test to personalise chemotherapy doses
Professor Jennifer Martin aims to develop a new way of measuring the right dose of chemotherapy for each person, similar to the finger prick blood test diabetics take several times a day to check their glucose levels. The test would provide instant information on chemotherapy levels in the blood to assist in accurately tailoring the dose for each individual, tweaking where needed to get the best effect from the treatment while minimising side effects.
Improving diagnosis and treatment selection
Professor Sandra O’Toole will use cutting-edge techniques, such as advanced genomic sequencing, to assess thousands of mutations in cancer genes in breast tumour samples. Her goal is to understand the molecular changes in breast cancers associated with response to chemotherapy to improve decision-making and treatment options. For example, the data may provide the information clinicians are currently lacking to confidently select which patients are likely to benefit from chemotherapy and those who may be safely spared this toxic therapy.
Improving care through innovative diagnostics
Early detection and personalised treatment are two of the greatest weapons against breast cancer. Survival and remission rates for breast cancer patients are significantly increased when the disease is caught early. In this project, Professor Matt Trau brings together nanotechnologists, breast cancer clinicians, pathologist and world-leading geneticists to discover new genetic ‘biomarkers’ of breast cancer, as well as developing innovative nanotechnology to read such information from blood or tissue. Professor Trau and his team hope they may be able to improve patient survival through early detection of breast cancer and by helping to personalise the therapy of patients already diagnosed with breast cancer.
Seeking targeted treatment for triple negative breast cancer
A large number of breast cancers are part of the subtype called triple negative breast cancer which are particularly aggressive and resistant to standard treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy. Dr Anabel Sorolla-Bardaji is exploring the use of nanoparticles in treating triple negative breast cancer her exciting preliminary results where the treatment kills cancer cells but ignores healthy cells.