Project details

Researcher: Dr Thomas A Hughes

Location: University of Leeds

Project cost: £229,123

The challenge

Chemotherapy is a commonly used treatment for breast cancer. However, some breast cancers can become resistant to chemotherapies. We need to understand what leads to this resistance and use this knowledge to stop it from happening. If we can ensure that chemotherapies are as effective as possible, it could save lives from the disease.

The science behind the project

Dr Thomas A Hughes and his team at the University of Leeds are investigating a new treatment combination for breast cancer. They want to add a new type of drug to chemotherapy treatment to increase its effectiveness.

Previously, they found that a type of non-cancer cells found in tumours, called cancer-associated fibroblasts, can help some breast cancers resist chemotherapy treatment. The researchers believe that they send signals to breast cancer cells, telling them to increase the activity of proteins called JAKs. This leads to chemotherapy resistance.

They now want to test whether blocking JAKs with drugs called JAK inhibitors could stop this. By combining these drugs with chemotherapy, it could make treatment more effective.

The researchers are using different types of breast cancer cells to examine what type of breast cancer could be treated with this new combination. They will then do further experiments in mice to prove that the combination is safe and more effective than current treatments.

What difference will this project make?

This project could lead to a new, more effective treatment combining chemotherapy with drugs called JAK inhibitors. If successful, this combination could be tested in clinical trials and eventually lead to a treatment that could save more lives from the disease.


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