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In a bid to leverage research between breast and brain cancer, the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) has partnered with the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation to tackle the most critical clinical questions affecting those diagnosed with breast and brain cancer.

As the brain is one of the most common sites for breast cancer to spread, a lot of progress can be achieved through this collaboration. This year, leading breast cancer researcher Associate Professor Pilar Blancafort and brain oncologist Professor Anna Nowak at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in WA are the recipients of this research investment.

Together, with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from across Australia, they will investigate a new treatment based on gene editing technology for brain and metastatic breast cancer focusing on tumours that are highly resistant to existing treatments.

This innovative technology will target genes which allow the cancer cells to repair themselves during radiotherapy and chemotherapy, leading to treatment resistance.

This four-year study has the potential to dramatically alter cancer treatment and improve the survival of patients not only for those with specific breast and brain cancers, but also for other aggressive types of cancers.

“We are working towards zero deaths by 2030 by specifically targeting the subtypes of cancer with the worst prognosis for which there are no current cures or targeted approaches.”

Associate Professor Pilar Blancafort,
NBCF-funded researcher


Megan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 after she found a lump in her breast. After undergoing a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, the mum-of-two beautiful daughters went into remission and did everything possible to get her life back on track.

She moved into telecommunications for work and took up dragon boat paddling, travelling the world so she could compete in the sport. Then last September, Megan received the devastating news she had Stage 4 metastatic cancer. Currently, Megan takes oral pills to manage her cancer. She is hopeful that researchers will come up with more effective treatment options for those experiencing metastatic cancer.

“With an effective, individual treatment plan, I would be able to lead a more full and long life. I’d be able to support my aging parents, celebrate weddings and hold grandchildren in the future,” says Megan.

Those who are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer who don’t respond to treatment or have no more options of treatment are obviously fighting for their lives. With continued research in breast cancer treatment, we all will have hope.
Megan, diagnosed 2008