Professor Christopher Scott and his PhD student would like to evaluate whether blocking a protein called cathepsin S (CTSS) can prevent triple negative breast cancer from spreading and forming incurable secondary tumours.

Professor Karen Blyth is studying why RUNX1 protects against ER-positive breast cancer but promotes the development of other types of the disease. Her research could ultimately lead to smarter treatments that improve the chances of survival for people with breast cancer.

 

People with ER positive breast cancer can be prescribed anti-hormone treatment for five years or more to reduce the risk of recurrence, but many find it hard to complete the course. Dr Hughes’ team are developing a way to help people persist with their treatment.

 

For some patients with certain types of breast cancer, treatment with radiotherapy (x-ray treatment) and hormone therapy before surgery may reduce the need for mastectomies (removal of the whole breast) and allow breast conserving surgery (removal of a small part of the breast) instead. Reducing the need for mastectomies is likely to improve patient well-being.

By investigating the role of the proteins TBX2 and KDM1A in breast cancer, Dr Mullan’s team aims to reveal which patients are likely to fail to respond to current chemotherapy treatments and provide an opportunity for the development of new targeted treatments, including treatments for triple negative breast cancers.

 

Dr McIntyre will study the mechanisms that allow triple negative breast cancer cells to survive when oxygen levels are low. This will help to identify the most effective way to treat patients with triple negative breast cancer.