THE KATHLEEN CUNINGHAM FOUNDATION CONSORTIUM FOR RESEARCH INTO FAMILIAL BREAST CANCER (kConFab)

Start Year: 2018
Finish Year: 2022
Chief Investigator: Professor Stephen Fox
Grant Type: Infrastructure Grant
Institution: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Breast cancer will affect one in eight Australian women and touch the lives of many families. For about 5% of these families, the cancer is due to an inherited gene defect – putting women, and men, in the family at risk of not just breast cancer, but also deadly ovarian and other cancers, which often occur at a very young age.

In order to understand, treat or even prevent these cancers, we need to study as many individuals from these families as possible. kConFab is doing just this by collecting unique, detailed clinical, gene mutation data and tissues on over 1700 breast/ovarian cancer families around Australia and making the (de-identified) resource available throughout the world for ethically approved research.

For 60% of our families, no underlying genetic cause has as yet been identified, so they eagerly await research results. Furthermore, it is now clear that studying breast cancers that occur in these multiple-cancer-case families can teach us a lot about some of the most deadly breast cancers that occur in young women without a family history of breast cancer, and so the influence of kConFab extends well outside of ‘familial’ breast cancer.

This infrastructure grant will allow us to continue to maintain and expand this world-class resource, enabling research into the lifestyle and molecular causes of breast cancer and other cancers occurring within these families, strategies to prevent breast cancer, new targeted treatments, and psychosocial factors that may contribute to positive health outcomes for these women and their families.