Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, affecting 1 in 8 Australian women by the time they are 85, and causing over 2,500 deaths. Research at the QIMR Berghofer is aimed at developing a better understanding of who is at particular risk for this cancer, and how the cancers develop from normal precursor cells.
Our research focuses on:
- searching for genes that are linked to breast cancer risk (both cancer-causing genes and cancer-suppressing genes)
- studying molecular processes to determine how cancer arises from healthy cells
- examining environmental influences that impact on breast cancer susceptibility and survival
- identifying proteins on the surface of the cancer cell in the hope of developing treatments using a patient’s own immune cells.
Our recent research has found:
- a genetic switch that indicates when a tumour will spread
- genetic links between ovarian and breast cancer risk factors
- a stretch of DNA that is associated with an increased breast cancer risk in women who carry a mutated BRCA1 gene
- a certain type of mutation within a DNA repair protein called a missense mutation, affects the function of the protein without destroying it, and was found to confer the highest risk of breast cancer compared to other types of mutations.