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Each year research provides incremental increases in our knowledge of how breast cancer grows and spreads. Together, this adds up to significant advances in diagnosis, treatment and ultimately prevention of breast cancer. We are proud of these achievements and want to share them with all those who have been touched by the devastating effects of breast cancer, to show that where there is research there is hope for a healthier future.

Since its inception, the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) has funded a broad spectrum of research that has deepened our understanding of breast cancer development and treatment – from improving breast cancer detection and ways to manage breast cancer risk, to enhancing patient quality of life and developing better treatments with fewer side effects. Learn more about NBCF’s contributions to a wide-range of research achievements impacting breast cancer below:

Prevention and Risk

NBCF-funded researcher, Professor John Hopper, discovered that the best predictor of a woman developing breast cancer in the future is how much of her mammogram is covered by bright areas — even more than all the known genetic factors discovered over the past 20 years. His team has since extended his research to improve breast cancer risk prediction using data from over 15,000 women.

The NBCF-funded team at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute lead by Professor Geoff Lindeman have also discovered that an existing medication could have promise in preventing breast cancer in women carrying a faulty BRCA1 gene. This finding has resulted in an international clinical trial set to commence late 2019.


In WA, NBCF funding helped Professor Brendan Kennedy to develop the world’s first 3D printed finger-mounted optical imaging probe – a ‘smart surgical glove’ – to help surgeons remove all cancer cells and reducing the need for multiple breast cancer surgeries. This cutting-edge technology is being commercialised by Perth-based start-up OncoRes Medical, with Professor Kennedy at the helm as Chief Scientific Officer.

New and improved treatment

NBCF-funded Practitioner Fellow, Professor Kelly-Anne Philips has played a lead role in a global clinical trial that offers new treatment options to better preserve fertility in young women with breast cancer. The trial showed that pre-menopausal women who received monthly injections of a drug called Goserelin were twice as likely to have a normal pregnancy after their breast cancer treatment. The drug is now subsidised as part of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, making it more affordable for Australian breast cancer patients.

Read further achievements in our news section