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Translational Breast Cancer Program

Developing new therapies for advanced breast cancer.

The Translational Breast Cancer Program seeks to reduce breast cancer deaths that are mainly caused by the spread of the disease to other organs. We can track cancer cells as they move through the bloodstream, interact with normal host cells and grow in other tissues. A mechanistic understanding of how cells leave the primary breast tumour and travel to tissues, such as those of the lung and bone, is enabling us to identify new genes for development of targeted therapies that will help patients with advanced breast cancer.

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Our laboratories

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METASTASIS RESEARCH LABORATORY

We are working to identify the genes that control the spread of breast cancer in a process called metastasis. It is the development of metastasis that is the main cause of death in breast cancer patients. Our research into genes that control this process is enabling us to develop new and more effective therapies for patients whose breast cancers have spread.

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Matrix Microenvironment and Metastasis Laboratory

As part of the Translational Breast Cancer Program, we are interested in how and why some breast cancers preferentially spread to bone or brain. We have identified key matrix proteins that are laid down by cancer and surrounding normal cells and provide a substrate on which cancer cells attach, survive and spread to distant organs. Our research aims to develop new therapies that block the function or production of these matrix proteins and prevent cancer spread to bone and brain.

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Tumour Progression and Heterogeneity Laboratory

We seek to ‘Track and Treat’ the cancer cells present in patients’ tissues by using lineage tracing, as well as sequencing technologies, to determine the molecular mechanisms responsible for the dissemination of cancer cells to various organs, and resistance to current therapies.

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Single Cell Cancer Genomics Laboratory

We use a high-throughput single-cell genomics approach to deconstruct tumour tissue and study the role of individual cells in cancer progression. Our objective is to reveal those rare few cancer cells that are resistant to conventional cancer treatment and are most likely to spread or cause relapse.

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Find out more about clinical trials

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