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New and Improved treatments

A novel approach to overcome treatment resistance in breast cancer

Garvan Institute for Medical Research Associate Professor

Elgene Lim

Current targeted therapies have greatly improved survival rates for breast cancer, but resistance to these therapies is common and is a major cause of death as tumours multiply and spread unchecked.

A/Prof Elgene Lim and others have found that a protein called the androgen receptor may be active in tumours which are resistant to common breast cancer treatments. Androgen receptors are present in the majority of primary breast cancers and in about 75 per cent of tumours that have spread to other parts of the body (metastasised). There are number of new therapies that have been developed to modulate the Androgen receptor.

A/Prof Lim and his collaborators, Prof Wayne Tilley, Prof Jason Carroll and Dr Theresa Hickey, international leaders in the field of hormone receptors, propose that manipulating this receptor will prevent, delay or stop the progression of therapy-resistant breast cancer, providing a new approach to treating these tumours and, in the long term, improve breast cancer survival rates.

More immediately, the project will also seek to identify predictive biomarkers, or gene signatures, that will help select the most appropriate types of breast cancer in which androgen modulation therapy may be evaluated in future clinical trials.

Garvan Institute for Medical Research Associate Professor

Elgene Lim