A leading scientist will investigate new drugs that could help save the lives of those with aggressive forms of breast cancer, thanks to joint funding from Breast Cancer Now and The Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government.

Monday 25 January 2016      Scotland
Dr Stephen Tait with his team in the lab

Dr Stephen Tait (far right) and his team

Dr Stephen Tait, who is a Senior Lecturer within the Institute of Cancer Sciences at the University of Glasgow, will investigate how triple negative breast cancer develops and test whether new drugs can be used to stop the disease in its tracks.

As part of this research, Dr Tait will focus on a pro-cancerous protein MCL-1. MCL-1 has been linked to the formation of tumours and is also thought to reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs to kill cancer cells.

The research into aggressive triple negative breast cancer – which will take place at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre over the next three years – could lead to the development of new drugs to block the protein’s pro-cancerous effects and improve current treatment.

Mary Allison, Director for Scotland at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“This collaboration between The Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government, Dr Stephen Tait at the University of Glasgow and Breast Cancer Now is exactly the kind of partnership we need to help stop women dying from breast cancer.

“Over 1,000 women die from breast cancer each year in Scotland - they are mothers, grandmothers, daughters and friends. Every partnership and investment in research gets us closer to our vision that by 2050 no women will die of breast cancer.”

Dr Stephen Tait, Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, said:

“This joint grant from Breast Cancer Now and The Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government will enable studies into the pro-cancer protein MCL-1, which has been linked to poor patient outcomes.

"We hope that this research could lead to new ways to make breast cancer treatments more effective.

“Exciting research projects are underway across Scotland and it’s great that the University of Glasgow is at the forefront of research into this disease.”

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison, said:

“Our £450,000 joint partnership with Breast Cancer Now will allow for more Scottish-led research into breast cancer development to take place, helping to further enhance our knowledge and treatment of the disease.”

Read more about Dr Tait's project here