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Three new projects announced in the fight against breast cancer

Thanks to funds raised through The Longest Table, The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group has been able to fund three new breast cancer projects, to bring hope to the thousands of women battling the deadly disease every year.

The three projects focus on areas which have yet to be fully investigated in the fight against breast cancer, including new proteins which may help treat aggressive breast cancers which are resistant or unresponsive to chemotherapy.

Paul Flynn, THRF Group CEO, said breast cancer was an area of high priority to its donors, lottery supporters and the wider community.

“Sadly, 18,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia every year,” Paul said.

“In line with our Together.Fight. campaign, we know that people can’t fight this deadly enemy on their own. But together with the knowledge of our researchers and support of the community, they have hope.

“Thanks to our generous donors who support us through many ways, including hosting a Longest Table, these projects will progress vital knowledge in the fight against breast cancer so that our mothers, wives, sisters and friends have a brighter outlook when faced with this scary disease.”

⚫ Dr Cameron Bracken (pictured) from the Centre of Cancer Biology, an alliance between the University of South Australia and SA Pathology, has received a grant to investigate breast cancer cells which become resistant to chemotherapy.

“There is a distinct population of cancer-initiating cells that are capable of both self-renewal and the further creation of distinct cell types within the tumour. Although they account for only a small proportion of the total tumour, they present a critical challenge as they are resistant to therapy and are widely thought responsible for tumour relapse,” Dr Bracken said.

“Our research will focus on the role of a little-studied protein called Basonuclin-2 and the impact this has on the chemoresistance of these cancer-initiating cells in breast cancer.

“By investigating this protein and understanding it better, we aim to bring hope to all women fighting hard-to-treat and recurring breast cancers.”

⚫ A grant to Associate Professor Phil Gregory, also from the Centre for Cancer Biology, will look at a previously unstudied protein which shows diagnostic and therapeutic potential against triple-negative breast cancer.

“Our goal is to provide earlier diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancers most likely to become aggressive and provide better treatment options for this deadly disease,” A/Prof Gregory said.

“The Hospital Research Foundation is a huge supporter of cancer research and we are so grateful for this latest funding which will help progress knowledge into these previously unstudied targets.”

⚫ Flinders University’s Dr Ashley Hopkins’ (pictured) research will focus on providing comprehensive evidence on the impact of blood pressure and cholesterol drugs on treatments for breast cancer.

“The potential for drug interactions with blood pressure and cholesterol drugs is a major current global concern, this research will use big data to provide definitive information to patients and clinicians on their impacts in breast cancer treatment,” Dr Hopkins said.

“Despite up to 60 per cent of cancer patients using blood pressure or cholesterol lowering drugs, there is little evidence informing whether there is harm or benefits while undergoing cancer treatment. We will fix this important knowledge gap.”

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