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Towards better treatment for metastatic breast cancer

Start Year: 2017
Finish Year: 2020
Chief Investigator: Dr Kylie Wagstaff
Grant Type: Early Career Fellowship
Institution: Monash University

Women with metastatic breast cancer are dying from the disease because no treatments have yet been developed that can stop tumour growth once it spreads beyond the breast.

The standard treatments currently available for women with metastatic breast cancer can prolong life, but ultimately do not prevent death. These treatments include toxic chemotherapy which, although initially effective at killing cancer cells, simultaneously attacks some healthy cells and causes unpleasant side effects.

Dr Kylie Wagstaff
Dr Kylie Wagstaff

In this four-year NBCF-funded study, Dr Kylie Wagstaff is aiming to find a specific biomarker that differentiates healthy cells from cancer cells. This discovery could firstly lead to easier and more accurate detection of metastatic breast cancer and, secondly, aid the development of drugs that recognise and target only cancer cells.

The new treatment would be much more effective, while also significantly reducing the harmful side effects women experience as a result of standard breast cancer care. This much-needed improvement in treatment for women with metastatic breast cancer could mean better prognosis and greatly enhanced quality of life during treatment.