Project details

Researcher: Professor Tyson Valentine Sharp

Location: Queen Mary University of London

Project cost: £243,900

The challenge

Around 15% of breast cancers are classed as triple negative. This form of breast cancer can be more aggressive. And there aren’t many targeted treatments for it.

We urgently need to learn as much as we can about triple negative breast cancer. This will help us find new and effective ways to treat people with this type of breast cancer.

The science behind the project

Professor Tyson Valentine Sharp, from Queen Mary University of London, is working to better understand how a protein called CoAsy is linked to breast cancer. Around 1/3 of breast tumours have low levels of CoAsy. And it’s particularly common in triple negative breast cancers.

Tyson is using cutting-edge techniques that will allow him to see what changes happen in breast cancer cells when they have low levels of CoAsy.

He’ll also test how the loss of CoaAsy makes cancer cells grow faster and spread more easily. The researchers will test this in laboratory experiments, growing the cells in dishes, and in mice.

This will help us understand how low levels of CoAsy are involved in breast cancer progression and spread.

The researchers hope to find new targets for treatments by identifying other proteins CoAsy interacts with. It’ll also build a better picture of the role that CoAsy plays in the development and progression of breast cancer.

What difference will this project make?

Right now, there aren’t many targeted treatments for triple negative breast cancer. It’s usually treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which can have significant side effects.

So, this project could lead to smarter and kinder treatments. And it could help us work out who’s most at risk of developing more aggressive breast cancer.

How many people could this project help?

It could help thousands of people.

We know that around 1/3 of breast tumours lose the gene that makes the CoAsy protein. And it’s more common in triple negative breast cancers. So this project could be particularly useful for the 8,000 people who are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer ever year.