Systems biology of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition in breast cancer metastasis

Start Year: 2014
Finish Year: 2017
Chief Investigator: Dr Melissa Davis
Grant Type: Early Career Fellowship
Institution: University of Melbourne

Breast cancer cells within a tumour can evolve to become more aggressive and invasive – a process known as epithelial to mesenchymal transition. This process is often associated with poor outcomes for patients, and an increased risk of breast cancer spread (metastasis).

The behaviour of tumour cells depends on the way genes and proteins interact. Networks of interacting molecules give rise to the complex properties of both normal and cancer tissue. Increasingly, scientists are realising that to understand the behaviour of tumours, we need to understand how genes cooperate with and influence each other.

This project will use advanced computational techniques to understand the networks of interacting molecules involved in driving the change to a more aggressive, invasive type of breast cancer, and build a series of models that will guide experimental investigation of new targets to block breast cancer recurrence and progression to metastatic disease.