When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it can be treated but not cured, so we need to find more effective treatments and ones that prevent this from happening.
One of the most common sites for breast cancer to spread to is the skeleton, where secondary tumours can cause problems such as fractures and pain. Professor Holen and colleagues have found that two proteins, CAPG and GIPC1, are produced in breast cancer cells that are known to be able to spread to the bone, as well as in breast tumours from people with secondary tumours in the skeleton.
Professor Holen’s team will study the role of these two proteins in breast cancer spread to bone. First, using breast cancer cells grown in the lab, they will study how removing these proteins affects their ability to multiply, move, and invade into surrounding tissues. They will also investigate how these breast cancer cells interact with cells that produce and remodel bone. Finally, they will study in more detail how these two proteins control the ability of breast cancer to spread through the body to the skeleton, and grow into secondary tumours.
What difference will this project make?
Professor Holen believes that measuring the presence of CAPG and GIPC1 in a breast tumour could help indicate whether a person’s breast cancer is likely to spread to the skeleton. Her research could also lead to new ways to treat secondary breast tumours in the bone, which will improve the chances of survival and quality of life for thousands of patients.
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