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.

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.

Prof Leonie Young is studying a protein called RET, which is thought to be involved in the spread of breast cancer to the brain. Her work could eventually lead to treatments which can control or even prevent secondary tumours in the brain.

We need better ways to track how secondary tumours in the bone respond to treatments. Professor Gary Cook is investigating whether a ‘tracer’ molecule can tell if these treatments are working at an earlier stage than is currently possible – and help patients live well for longer.