Identification of nuclear receptor networks as new targets for breast cancer treatment

Start Year: 2008
Finish Year: 2012
Chief Investigator: Associate Professor Christine Clarke
Grant Type: Collaborative Grants
Institution: Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Research

National Collaborative Breast Cancer Research Grant Program

Bold new approaches are required for women for whom available treatments offer little hope and women who develop treatment resistance. Targeting the oestrogen pathway has been highly successful, and the same approach can be reapplied, as a crucial aspect of oestrogen receptor (ER) biology has been overlooked in breast cancer.

ER forms part of a conserved family of nuclear receptors (NRs), which are master regulators of every aspect of life, including embryogenesis, reproduction, metabolism and cell death. NR family members are highly related and have overlapping actions in cells. Many NRs are active in breast cancers.

Targeting NRs provides a promising new avenue in breast cancer management. This application identifies NR networks active in breast cancers to identify new predictive targets of response to treatment in premenopausal women with ER-PR- breast cancer, or women with metastatic disease.

This research could be translated within 5 years, by application of treatments with existing NR drugs in women who have failed endocrine or cytotoxic treatments. Beyond this application, new NR drugs will be developed and tested in currently underserved breast cancer subgroups.