Researcher: Dr Yaohe Wang
Project title: Developing a virus treatment for triple negative breast cancer
Key area: Treatment
Triple negative breast cancer is a form of the disease which has limited treatment options because it cannot be treated using targeted therapies available for other types of breast cancer. We urgently need to find new ways to treat triple negative breast cancer to improve the chances of survival for people with this form of the disease.
When viruses attack the body, they find and infect specific cells in order to reproduce, which ultimately kills the cell. The immune system responds to viruses by finding the infected cells and destroying them, killing the viruses inside.
Dr Wang believes that the way that viruses attack the body could be exploited to develop a cancer treatment. Dr Wang has already developed viruses which specifically target and kill cancer cells. In this project, he will modify these viruses to include genes which make proteins that are commonly found on the surface of triple negative breast cancer cells. The ultimate goal is that these viruses will find and destroy the triple negative breast cancer cells, and at the same time stimulate the immune system to clear any remaining cells – a treatment he calls a viro-immunotherapy.
He will develop these viruses and test them using triple negative breast cancer cells grown in the lab, as well as mice which have been implanted with triple negative breast cancer cells.
What difference will this project make?
Dr Wang’s research could lead to an effective and safe viro-immunotherapy treatment for triple negative breast cancer, so providing a new option to treat this aggressive form of the disease and ultimately save thousands of lives.
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