The role of the extracellular matrix protein POEM in breast cancer metastasis

Start Year: 2008
Finish Year: 2012
Chief Investigator: Dr Richard Redvers
Grant Type: Fellowships
Institution: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

Alternative Title: The role of the protein POEM in malignant breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Western women. It is the spread (metastasis) of cancer cells to distant organs that is responsible for the majority of deaths in this disease. Investigators have recently discovered a protein termed POEM or nephronectin in developing bones and kidneys. Importantly, the Anderson group has discovered elevated levels of this protein in malignant breast cancer using an animal model that mimics the human disease.

Dr Richard Redvers will confirm the presence of POEM in human breast cancer and determines its functional importance in the spread of this disease. Investigations into its mechanisms of action and interactions with other proteins are to be undertaken to better understand POEM function in breast cancer.

This study also focuses on generating therapeutics in an effort to block the spontaneous spread of this disease. Further characterisation of this protein in malignant breast cancer may yield important insights to improve therapeutic strategies, resulting in greater quality of life and longevity for cancer patients.