Through a Career Catalyst Research Grant provided by the International Collaborative Research Partnership, Delphine Merino of La Trobe University in Australia will focus on providing more research into how tumors grow and spread. Her research is focused on the genetic properties of the most aggressive cell types in breast cancer tumors, and targeting the “seeds” of metastasis.
”Breast cancer is a global problem that we cannot tackle alone, and research partnerships are key to advancing the scientific breakthroughs that will save lives,” Victoria Wolodzko, Komen’s senior vice president of mission, said in a press release. “We are excited to join Cancer Australia in partnering to fund research focused on treating the breast cancer that kills — metastatic breast cancer.”
The collaboration calls for the use of state-of-the-art technology to find the genes that facilitate the spread of breast cancer cells to other organs. In the process, thousands of individual cells, taken as patient samples, will be labeled. Merino will study the cells’ biology before, during, and after treatment, allowing comparison of the cells’ genetic properties to their tendency to metastasize. The data also is expected to help optimize biopsies in metastatic disease.
The overarching aim is to identify the “Achilles heel” of metastatic breast cancer.
”Cancer Australia is proud to be partnering with Susan G. Komen to co-fund Dr. Merino’s work — addressing critical research questions in disease progression of metastatic breast cancer,” said Helen Zorbas, chief executive officer, Cancer Australia. “This research partnership will provide the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the future of breast cancer clinical practice and patient outcomes.”
There were roughly 2 million new cases of breast cancer worldwide last year, and 600,000 breast cancer deaths, mostly from metastatic breast cancer — cancer that has spread beyond the breast. Most current therapies focus on extending life and improving quality of life.
The world’s leading breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen has invested more than $2.9 billion in research, community health outreach, advocacy, and programs in more than 60 countries.
Established in 2006 by the Australian government, Cancer Australia aims to reduce the disease’s impact, address disparities, and improve outcomes for patients by leading and coordinating evidence-based interventions across the continuum of care. It also makes recommendations to the Australian government about cancer policy and priorities.
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