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Women with particular sub-types of breast cancer have been given new hope, thanks to a discovery by Mater researchers identifying a new way to kill certain types of cancer cells.
To date, some breast cancers have remained resistant to current therapies, with little ability for doctors to stop their growth. This has led to a poorer prognosis for women with certain breast cancer subtypes.
But a recent research breakthrough at Mater has the potential to save many lives.
Professor Gregory Monteith and his team from Mater Research and the University of Queensland School of Pharmacy made a ground-breaking discovery relating to breast cancer progression this year.
The supply of oxygen to breast cancer can decline as the cancer grows, which can then trigger the breast cancer to become more aggressive and more resistant to therapies. The team found that a protein called TRPC1 regulates this process—and when this protein is shut off, some important breast cancer pathways are deactivated and, potentially, the cancer progression could be stopped.
Professor Monteith will use this recent discovery and others in his laboratory to drive more targeted approaches for breast cancer therapy.
“This work provides a new dimension into how we might be able to treat some types of breast cancers in the future,” Professor Monteith said. “This form of treatment may also complement other treatment options, and could represent a way to make current drugs more effective.”
His research is giving much needed hope to breast cancer patients and their families, including Simone, who was diagnosed at 44.
Simone knows ongoing investment in medical research is where the real breakthroughs will happen.
“If my cancer reoccurs now, I’m not as scared as I was a year ago because of all the advancements that are being made at Mater in the field of breast cancer research,” she said.
After her own cancer diagnosis, Simone went on to be the face of this year’s RACQ International Women’s Day Fun Run and ran with more than 10 000 other women in support of breast cancer in March this year. Simone and her team raised more than $1900 for Mater to extend our research in the breast cancer space.