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Breast cancer research receives funding boost

Researchers from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) and The University of Queensland have been awarded a high-level medical research program grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The grant worth $5,604,500 over five years will be used to support work into the susceptibility and progression of breast cancer.

“We are delighted to receive this program grant from NHMRC. Breast cancer is currently the most common cancer among Australian women. One in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85 and therefore further research into this disease is vital,” said Professor Chenevix-Trench, Head of QIMR’s Cancer Genetics Laboratory and member of the successful research team.

“Our team will study mechanisms that predispose some women to develop breast cancer, the process that allows cancers to grow at distant sites such as the brain and lungs, and how DNA repair proteins are implicated. This will allow development of new diagnostic tools and treatments with our ultimate aim being improved outcomes for women with breast cancer.”

“Every breast cancer is different, making management a challenge. High-grade cancers including the ‘basal’ type are aggressive, often found in young women and have a propensity for distant spread. They are also associated with a BRCA1 gene mutation,” said Professor Chenevix-Trench.

NHMRC Program Grants provide support for teams of the highest quality researchers to drive their own five year research projects to address complex health problems. They support the development of new ideas and approaches through collaborative work, as well as assisting up and coming researchers. Only nine were awarded in 2011, with Professor Chenevix-Trench the only Queensland based recipient.

The Program Grant will support the collaborative work of QIMR’s Professors Georgia Chenevix-Trench (Cancer Genetics Laboratory), and Kum Kum Khanna (Signal Transduction Laboratory) and Professor Sunil R Lakhani, Head, Breast Pathology Group, The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research; Head, Molecular and Cellular Pathology, The University of Queensland School of Medicine; State Director, Anatomical Pathology, Pathology Queensland.

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