Breast cancer continues to be one of the major causes of death in Australian women, but research being undertaken in Camperdown, by Centenary Institute cancer researcher Dr Shweta Tikoo, is hoped to identify new therapeutic targets aimed at preventing the spread of this cancer to other parts of the body.
It is estimated that last year more than 3,000 Australian women succumbed to breast cancer, and Dr Tikoo has been awarded funding from Cancer Australia to investigate the underlying mechanisms that drive the spread of breast cancer.
While primary breast cancer can be treated through surgery and chemotherapy, the prognosis can be much poorer once the cancer spreads to other organs.
This is due in part to the rapid development of chemotherapy resistance in metastatic breast cancer cells.
Dr Tikoo said this new research project will investigate the role of “Perivascular Macrophages” in tumour cell metastasis.
Macrophages are a type of immune cells which have been widely implicated in tumour progression and metastasis.
“If we can understand the spread of breast cancer at cellular and molecular level, we can develop new therapeutic targets to intervene in the process,” Dr Tikoo said.
“This funding support from Cancer Australia will enable us to take a new and inventive approach to understanding and treating breast cancer, which will hopefully improve the patient outcome in future.”