Improving the effectiveness of IGF blocker drugs for people with breast cancer

Project details

Researcher: Dr Valentine Macaulay

Location: University of Oxford

Project title: Improving the effectiveness of IGF blocker drugs for people with breast cancer

Key area: Treatment

The challenge

‘IGF blockers’ are new drugs that have shown promise for treating breast cancer, but early research has suggested that these drugs do not work for everyone. We need to find ways to predict who will benefit the most from new treatments and find the best combinations of therapies, in order to improve the chances of survival for people with breast cancer.

Project description

New drugs called ‘IGF blockers’ are currently being tested in clinical trials for breast cancer and other cancers. Dr Macaulay is finding ways to ensure people with breast cancer can gain the most benefit from these treatments.

She has found that these drugs might make breast cancers more susceptible to treatments that damage DNA, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She has also found that tumours that are not fully able to repair DNA damage, such as tumours with BRCA mutations, may be more sensitive to these IGF blocker drugs.

In this project Dr Macaulay will study breast cancer cells grown in the lab to find out whether proteins involved in DNA repair might influence the effectiveness of IGF blockers. She will also study whether a combination of IGF blockers and chemotherapy or radiotherapy may make these treatments more effective.

What difference will this project make?

Ultimately, Dr Macaulay’s research will find ways to target new IGF blocker drugs to breast cancer patients who will benefit the most, and combine them with other treatments to make them more effective, improving the chances of survival for people affected by breast cancer.

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