We believe that by funding the very best in breast cancer research, we can ensure that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live – and live well.

We are determined to make that vision a reality and, over more than 25 years, we’ve invested over £200 million in world-class research. This has helped us to:

We have answered so many scientific questions and plugged so many gaps in our knowledge on breast cancer – but we won’t stop until we reach that 2050 goal. 

Over the years that we have been funding our vital research, we have seen a steady decrease in lives cut short by breast cancer, with thanks to incredible research breakthroughs. These are our achievements in three main areas:

Prevention

The best weapon we could have against breast cancer is the ability to stop it occurring in the first place. But it’s impossible to do this without answering the questions on who has the highest chance of developing the disease and why.

  • Our researchers contributed to the discovery of the BRCA2 gene.
  • Our scientists were also behind the discovery that mutations in the PALB2 gene are linked to breast cancer.
  • The Breast Cancer Now Generations Study has helped to uncover more than 160 new genetic variants linked to increased likelihood of developing the disease. 

Read more about our research into preventing breast cancer.

Stopping deaths

We need to diagnose breast cancer early and effectively, make sure that everyone is given the treatment that works best for them, and understand how secondary breast cancer develops and how we can treat it or stop it from developing in the first place.

  • Our researchers have developed a simple, low-cost test called IHC4 that predicts which patients could benefit from, or can safely avoid, chemotherapy after surgery.
  • They were a part of the discovery and development of PARP inhibitors – a new type of drug which has less devastating side effects and that is now making its way to help people with BRCA mutated breast cancer in the UK.
  • Our researchers have found that a type of cell called a pericyte makes a molecule that helps cancer cells spread around the body and become incurable secondary breast cancer.
  • Our scientists are also developing blood tests to see how well a treatment is working and help identify patients with secondary breast cancer who could benefit from a change of treatment.

Read more about our research achievements reducing deaths from breast cancer.

Living well with breast cancer

While we are constantly striving to save lives from breast cancer, until the day that we can keep every patient alive we must find ways to also help everybody living with, or beyond the disease live well.

  • We helped to fund the world’s largest breast cancer trial of a new form of radiotherapy, called Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT).
  • Our researchers led a pioneering study into the physical, emotional and social problems experienced by people living with secondary breast cancer.

Read more about how our research helps those living with breast cancer.