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Over 30 new breast cancer research projects underway thanks to NBCF funding

March 19th, 2017

Covering the areas of prevention, detection, treatment and support, the National Breast Cancer Foundation has invested $12 million into over 30 new breast cancer research projects. These projects each have the potential to make a life-changing difference to those affected by breast cancer and will help achieve NBCF’s goal of zero death from breast cancer by 2030.

Some projects are focused on better understanding the basic biology of breast cancer – how it grows and spreads or resists treatments. Other projects are investigating new treatments, new methods for detecting tumours. Due to the nature of research, some results from the lab may take many years to benefit breast cancer patients, but many others have the potential to be more immediate in their impact – in both cases, investing in research now leaves a legacy for the future health of Australians faced with breast cancer.

Breast cancer research projects: Prevention

Genetic services and familial cancer centres across Australia investigate women and their families when there is an evident inherited predisposition to breast cancer, due to a family history of cancer for instance. Primarily the doctor is looking to see if these women have mutations in the BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 genes – genes that have been specifically linked to breast cancer risk. However, most of these women do not have mutations in either of these genes. NBCF is funding Dr Tu Nguyen-Dumont for a 4-year project which is seeking better understanding of the genes used in genetic tests, to maximise the potential of genetic testing and ensure better outcomes for women.

Breast cancer research projects: Detection

Around a third of those diagnosed with breast cancer will later develop metastatic breast cancer, but as yet there is no way to know which patients will or when it might occur – which could be up to 20 years later. Until now, research into metastatic dormancy has been hampered by the lack of good ways in which to study the process, but now Professor Robin Anderson has the potential for a breakthrough in understanding about how cancer returns and ultimately how to stop it.

Breast cancer research projects: Treatment

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer. When diagnosed, those with inflammatory breast cancer often already have an advanced stage of the disease and may not respond to standard treatments such as chemotherapy. This two-year innovative study led by Professor Matthias Ernst aims to test drugs that are approved for use in other diseases (leukaemia and rheumatoid arthritis) to see if they can overcome the inflammatory cancer’s resistance to treatment and can be destroyed.

Breast cancer research projects: Support

Two thirds of those who are hospitalised with advanced metastatic breast cancer will have a distressing delirium episode at some point during a stay in hospital. Professor Meera Agar believes many are preventable are preventable and with funding from NBCF is running a trial to collect data on the benefits of methods to avoid delirium episodes which aims to reduce the incidence of delirium in women with advanced metastatic breast cancer by 50 per cent, a change which would mean a significant improvement to their quality and length of life.

This is just a selection of breast cancer research projects funded by NBCF in 2017; the full range of projects can be viewed here.

Donate to NBCF-funded research projects

You can help NBCF achieve its goal of achieving zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030 by donating below:

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