Characterisation of the role of oncogenes and self-renewal genes in mammary stem and progenitor cells

Start Year: 2007
Finish Year: 2009
Chief Investigator: Dr Toula Bouras
Grant Type: Fellowships
Institution: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

Alternative Title: Understanding the role of cancer genes and stem cells in breast cancer

Generation and maintenance of the mammary gland occurs via the stem cell, which acts as a common precursor of all the different cell subpopulations that make up the adult organ. It is hypothesised that the stem cell and descendent subpopulations (progenitors) have distinct patterns of susceptibility to cancer initiation and that these represent the origin of distinct breast cancer subtypes.

The aim of this study is to define the role of specific genes (oncogenes and self-renewal genes) in the distinct mammary stem cell and progenitor subpopulations identified within the laboratory. Deciphering the different cellular compartments that constitute the mammary epithelium and the carcinogenic cues that they respond to will help clarify the broader biological significance of distinct cell subpopulations in breast cancer development. The understanding of such mechanisms is significant because it may offer novel therapeutic targets for the clinical management of breast cancer.