Predicting response to treatment prior to surgery

Project details

Researcher: Professor Andrew Evans, Dr Sarah Vinnicombe and Dr Frances Fuller-Pace

Location: University of Dundee

Project title: Predicting response to treatment prior to surgery

Key area: Treatment

The challenge

Chemotherapy is often given to breast cancer patients prior to surgery to try to reduce the size of the tumour. However, not all patients benefit from this so it’s important that we can identify these people as quickly as possible to avoid any unnecessary treatment.

Project description

Dr Sarah Vinnicombe and Professor Andrew Evans are working out new ways to predict which patients will benefit from chemotherapy prior to surgery (called neo-adjuvant therapy). They are using a combination of advanced imaging and classic molecular analysis to find new ways to work out who needs chemotherapy.

Using an imaging technique called shear wave elastography they aim to find out if changes in the stiffness of breast tissue can be used to tell if someone is responding well to treatment. Coupling this information with molecular markers identified in the breast tumours of patients they hope to be able to develop new tests to predict who will ultimately benefit from chemotherapy prior to surgery.

What difference will this project make?

Dr Vinnicombe and Professor Evans’s research will one day help prevent patients receiving unnecessary chemotherapy and ensure that the best treatments are offered on an individual basis.

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