Identifying breast cancer protein signatures to personalise treatment

Start Year: 2013
Finish Year: 2015
Chief Investigator: Associate Professor Beric Henderson
Grant Type: Novel Concept Awards
Institution: The University of Sydney

This project aims to increase survival after breast cancer treatment by improving selection of the most effective therapies for each patient.

A high proportion of breast cancers express a protein called BARD1. This protein is unusual in that it is produced in several different forms called ‘splice variants’, which are abundant in breast and ovarian cancers.

Associate Professor Beric Henderson is a world expert on BARD1 function. He has hypothesised that the splice variants of BARD1 may have very different, and even opposing, effects on the way that breast cancers respond to anti-cancer drugs.

In this project, Associate Professor Henderson will clone and express six BARD1 splice variants and examine their effect on how cells respond to radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

With this information, Associate Professor Henderson hopes to define a specific BARD1 ‘signature’ that can be used to predict which patients will respond to chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

The next stage of this research should lead to further studies that aim to personalise the treatment of patients based on their BARD1 signature profiles.