Project details

Researcher: Dr Beatrice Howard

Location: The Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre, London

Project title: Breast development group

Key area: Treatment

The challenge

Although effective treatments for breast cancer exist, there are many patients for whom these treatments don’t work or stop working over time.  We need to understand more about the biology of breast cancer so that more effective ways to treat patients can be developed.

Project description

The aim of Dr Howard and her team is to increase our understanding of the cellular processes that control normal breast development to work out what goes wrong in breast cancer. These processes are often defective in breast cancer, so understanding how they normally work will provide insight into the biological changes that allow cancers to grow. To do this they are determining the biological characteristics of the three main types of cell that develop into normal breast tissue. Using this knowledge, the team will investigate how molecular signals that control these cell types contribute to the growth of breast cancers and, importantly, identify potential new ways to diagnose and treat the disease.

What difference will this project make?

The more accurate a person’s diagnosis, the more effective doctors can be when selecting treatments. Dr Howard’s work will improve our fundamental understanding of breast cancer – vital work that is needed to find more effective ways to treat patients.

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