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New and Improved treatments

Validation of a Novel Target that Inhibits Breast Cancer Metastasis

Garvan Institute of Medical Research Dr

Christine Chaffer

  • Project description: Dr Chaffer’s project will investigate new techniques to stop aggressive breast cancer cells from spreading around the body.
  • Why this work is needed: Advanced breast cancer and the development of resistance to treatment are the leading causes of death amongst breast cancer patients.  Dr Chaffer has discovered a novel protein present in aggressive cell populations. Blocking this protein may stop the growth and spread of tumours. This preclinical study will investigate the most effective way to block this protein to prevent the spread of cancer.
  • Expected outcomes:, Dr Chaffer’s findings may provide the basis for developing this new therapeutic for clinical trials assessing its ability to prevent metastasis and slow the spread of breast cancer cells.

Project details
Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread to another part of the body. Most commonly this is the brain, bones, liver or lungs. This migration throughout the body is driven in part by specialised aggressive cell populations. The aggressive cells also contribute to the on-set of disease and to the development of treatment resistance. A method of stopping their activity would be beneficial to all stages of cancer.

NBCF-funded researcher Dr Christine Chaffer is developing new techniques to stop these aggressive cells from spreading. In turn, this will prevent tumour progression, recurrence and metastasis. She has discovered a novel marker that is essential for cell activity. The marker is significantly increased in these aggressive cell populations. By blocking an enzyme, Dr Chaffer has been able to stop the growth and spread of tumours in experimental models.

This project will expand on her initial findings, by investigating the most effective methods of blocking the enzyme. If effective, the approach will provide a new therapeutic strategy to prevent metastasis, slow progression and improve outcomes for those affected by breast cancer.

Garvan Institute of Medical Research Dr

Christine Chaffer