New technique to study the genetics of breast cancer

November 11, 2008,

A new technique to study genetic changes that can lead to breast cancer could be one step closer.

The University of Nottingham has received £15,000 from the charity Breast Cancer Campaign to fill in one of the research gaps identified by the country's top breast cancer experts in a recent study carried out by the charity. The aim is to identify the many undiscovered genes thought to be involved in the early stages of breast cancer.

The grant awarded to Ian Ellis, Professor of Cancer Pathology, is part of £2.3 million awarded to 20 projects around the UK. Professor Ellis said: "Thanks to funding from Breast Cancer Campaign I hope to develop a technique which would allow the genetic information of many thousands of breast samples to be studied which would be of huge importance in understanding the genetic changes that occur in early breast cancer."

It is known that breast cancer can develop when the genes in breast cells change and stop working properly. Inherited defects in genes account for around five to 10 per cent of all breast cancers but all forms of breast cancer have acquired gene defects during their initial stages of development and many of these genes are yet to be discovered. These defective genes can lead to physical changes in the breast cancer cell resulting in breast cancer.

The earliest physical sign of a normal breast cell developing into one common type of breast cancer is the presence of a flat atypical epithelial (FEA) cell. Professor Ellis will study the genes in the FEA cells to identify which ones are involved in the very earliest stages of breast cancer.

Pamela Goldberg, Chief Executive, Breast Cancer Campaign, said, "Every year breast cancer kills 12,500 women in the UK. It is therefore vital that we identify new genes involved in breast cancer development so that women who inherit these faulty genes and are therefore at higher risk of breast cancer, can be monitored at an early stage."

Source: University of Nottingham

Explore further: Study sheds new light on mechanism of breast cancer treatment resistance

Related Stories

Study sheds new light on mechanism of breast cancer treatment resistance

February 12, 2018
A study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has illuminated a specific mechanism by which estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers can become resistant to standard therapies and metastasize.

First comparison of common breast cancer tests finds varied accuracy of predictions

February 15, 2018
Commercially-available prognostic breast cancer tests show significant variation in their abilities to predict disease recurrence, according to a study led by Queen Mary University of London of nearly 800 postmenopausal women.

'Liquid biopsy' can help predict outcomes in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer

February 16, 2018
A clinically relevant "liquid biopsy" test can be used to profile cancer genomes from blood and predict survival outcomes for patients with metastatic triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), according to new research published ...

Induced pluripotent stem cells could serve as cancer vaccine, researchers say

February 15, 2018
Induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, are a keystone of regenerative medicine. Outside the body, they can be coaxed to become many different types of cells and tissues that can help repair damage due to trauma or ...

Huntington's disease provides new cancer weapon

February 12, 2018
Patients with Huntington's disease, a fatal genetic illness that causes the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain, have up to 80 percent less cancer than the general population.

A gender agenda—improving healthcare equality

February 12, 2018
In the past, we've thought diseases affect men and women the same. New evidence suggests this is not the case, and women are suffering for it.

Recommended for you

Five novel genetic changes linked to pancreatic cancer risk

February 21, 2018
In what is believed to be the largest pancreatic cancer genome-wide association study to date, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute, and collaborators from over 80 other ...

Similarities found in cancer initiation in kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas

February 21, 2018
Recent research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis demonstrated that mature cells in the stomach sometimes revert back to behaving like rapidly dividing stem cells. Now, the researchers have found that ...

Genes activated in metastasis also drive the first stages of tumour growth

February 21, 2018
In spite of the difference between the cell functions responsible for giving rise to a tumour and that give rise to metastasis, studies at IRB Barcelona using the fly Drosophila melanogaster reveal that some genes can drive ...

New technique predicts gene resistance to cancer treatments

February 21, 2018
Yale School of Public Health researchers have developed a new method to predict likely resistance paths to cancer therapeutics, and a methodology to apply it to one of the most frequent cancer-causing genes.

Research could change how doctors treat leukemia and other cancers fed by fat

February 21, 2018
Obesity and cancer risk have a mysterious relationship, with obesity increasing the risk for 13 types of cancer. For some cancers—including pediatric cancers—obesity affects survival rates, which are lower for people ...

Researchers discover novel mechanism linking changes in mitochondria to cancer cell death

February 20, 2018
To stop the spread of cancer, cancer cells must die. Unfortunately, many types of cancer cells seem to use innate mechanisms that block cancer cell death, therefore allowing the cancer to metastasize. While seeking to further ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.