Using the immune system to target tumours has been hailed as one of the next great breakthroughs in treating cancers, with the potential to use the patient’s own immune cells to specifically recognise and attack cancer cells. However, there is still much to learn if we are to use these immunotherapies to safely and effectively treat breast cancer whilst avoiding damage to healthy tissues.
The drugs crizotinib and lorlatinib have the potential to be new treatments for various forms of breast cancer. Professor Lord and his team will be investigating how these drugs work and using that information to work out the best way to use them to benefit patients.
Professor Nicholas Turner and Dr Alicia Okines will lead a clinical trial of the drug crizotinib for patients with lobular breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. This trial, called the ROLO study, could lead to a much-needed new treatment for this type of breast cancer.
Dr Boyne will investigate whether the increased risk of secondary breast cancer in patients with type-two diabetes is caused by ‘molecular messages’ carried in fragments of blood cells known as platelets.
Breast cancer stem cells are likely to be the reason why some breast cancers manage to avoid treatment, come back and spread. Dr Ucar aims to investigate whether stopping two proteins from working in breast cancer stem cells could offer a way to target and destroy the cells.
When breast cancer spreads it becomes incurable, and can cause debilitating side-effects. Professor Nicola Sibson hopes to find better treatment combinations to control secondary breast tumours in the brain, to improve the quality of life and chances of survival for patients.