How the immune system affects risk of breast cancer
Finish Year: 2016
Chief Investigator: Associate Professor Wendy Ingman
Institution: University of Adelaide
Early Career Fellowship
Breast cancer is the result of accumulation of DNA mutations over the course of a woman’s life that ultimately leads to deregulated cell division and tumour formation. The body has a number of systems in place to help repair DNA mutations when they occur, thus protecting the body from cancer. Cells of the immune system are part of the body’s defence against cancer and can recognise and eliminate cells containing DNA mutations. However, immune cells, such as macrophages, are also known to be critical for the normal function of the mammary gland. The requirement for macrophages for the everyday functioning of this tissue is unique to the breast. This can affect how the immune system responds to DNA mutations.