Breast cancer that has spread to the brain can be particularly hard to treat and severely affects people’s quality of life. Walk the Walk Fellow Dr Damir Varešlija is looking at how gene switches in breast cancer cells might make them more likely to spread to the brain and hopes to find ways to stop this from happening.

Dr Stephen Robinson would like to test if manipulating friendly gut bacteria can influence the immune system and in turn make it harder for breast cancer to spread around the body and become incurable.

Mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 can drastically increase a person’s risk of developing breast cancer. Professor Xiaodong Zhang will study how changes in the shape of BRCA proteins can alter their function. This could help us tailor therapies to people with breast cancer.

We need to develop our understanding of how breast cancer spreads around the body if we want to prevent deaths from the disease. Dr Iain Macpherson is studying the role of glutamate in breast cancer and will see if blocking it could prevent secondary breast cancer.

To be able to grow, cancer cells need to divide. But they do this in an abnormal way, which causes the uncontrollable growth of tumours. Professor Judy Coulson is studying this process in more detail, with the hope of developing new therapies to improve survival for patients.