Our research strategy
Research strategy at-a-glance
The secondary spread of breast cancer, or metastasis, is currently an incurable condition which claims the lives of 12,000 breast cancer patients each year in the UK. Against Breast Cancer raise money to increase the survival rates of breast cancer patients by supporting research in 4 areas;
- To develop tools for the earlier diagnosis of secondary breast cancer
- To develop treatments for secondary spread, ultimately a vaccine
- To understand which diet and lifestyle factors impact risk of recurrence or spread
- To provide a platform for communication between scientists and industry to drive the scientific field forward
Strategy in detail
In the late 1980’s, breast cancer pathologist, researcher and Co-Founder of Against Breast Cancer Dr. Anthony Leathem discovered that there was a difference in the sugars (glycobiology) of secondary breast cancer tissues compared to breast cancers that had not spread from the breast. Today, we are particularly supporting glycobiology research to address the diagnostic and treatment challenges posed in the metastatic breast cancer field and increase the survival rates of all breast cancer patients.
Earlier Diagnosis of Secondary Breast Cancer
There is currently no reliable diagnostic test to monitor breast cancer patients for metastasis following primary breast cancer treatment. Against Breast Cancer fund research to discover biomarkers in blood or urine which indicate breast cancer metastases before any symptoms are experienced for the development of new diagnostic tests. The detection of aberrant glycosylation for monitoring and diagnosis of breast cancer metastasis is a focus for our charity research activities.
Against Breast Cancer envisage a future where breast cancer patients can be monitored for metastases using a home blood or urine test kit to reduce hospital visits and provide peace of mind through regular screening.
New Treatments and Vaccination
There is no cure for secondary breast cancer, it is currently a managed condition and resistance to treatments can develop or be inherent to the breast cancer type. Ideally, any new treatment or vaccine developed by Against Breast Cancer should have as wide an application as possible, but it is recognized that secondary spread of different types of breast cancer may require different treatments and vaccination strategies. Identification of aberrantly glycosylated targets on metastatic breast cancer cells and the possible role of anti-glycan antibodies in the progression and control of breast cancer are a research focus for treatment and vaccine activities that our charity funds.
Understanding Risk of Secondary Spread Associated with Diet & Lifestyle
More evidence is needed to determine the impact of diet and lifestyle factors on risk of recurrence and metastasis in primary breast cancer survivors. Against Breast Cancer fund research to identify which modifiable diet and lifestyle factors increase, reduce or do not impact the risk of recurrence and secondary spread of breast cancer to provide evidence-based advice to clinicians and breast cancer patients.
To Provide a Platform for Communication between Scientists and Industry
Against Breast Cancer organise workshops and meetings to support the communication of recent technological advances in the glycobiology field and foster collaborations between scientists and industry in order to advance our shared understanding of glycobiology in metastatic disease and expedite diagnosis and treatment research.