Researcher: Prof Paul Skipp
Location: University of Southampton
Dates: July 2019 – July 2024 Status: In progress
ABC Discover, led by Prof Paul Skipp at the university of Southampton, aims to provide the basis for precision medicine in breast cancer. The research project has been created to improve rates of early detection and improve our understanding of the impact of diet and lifestyle on breast cancer recurrence and secondary spread.
Using samples from ABC’s DietCompLyf biobank, the main focus of ABC Discover is:
- determine why some breast cancers become metastatic
- identify early risk biomarkers of metastasis
- identify risk biomarkers and factors (diet and lifestyle) associated with recurrence
- revolutionize treatment making more effective, less toxic anti-cancer therapies
Working closely with the Centre for Cancer Immunology, ABC Discover is a flagship research programme under the umbrella of the newly established Integrative Molecular Phenotyping Centre (IMPC) at the University of Southampton.
By measuring the amounts of a range of molecule types including genes, proteins and small molecules and using cutting edge data analysis techniques, ABC Discover will profile clinical samples from breast cancer patients to develop ‘molecular handprints’. These intricate and highly detailed ‘maps’ will advance our understanding of why some breast cancers become metastatic. This molecular data will also be combined with diet and lifestyle questionnaire data from the DietCompLyf study to investigate the impact diet and lifestyle has on patient progression and outcome.
The large-scale integration of genomic, proteomic and metabolomic data together with physiological, epidemiological, and environmental data, will improve our understanding of breast cancer and pave the way toward enabling more personalised and effective healthcare treatment and diagnosis. This research promises to have a major impact on the discovery of biomarkers, and also continue to advance our understanding of the impact of diet and lifestyle on recurrence and secondary spread, the main cause of breast cancer related deaths
Potential benefit for patients
With the number of people living after a primary breast cancer diagnosis predicted to grow dramatically over the coming years the need to improve earlier detection of secondary cancer has never been greater. Identifying biomarkers that predict the risk of developing secondary cancer or enable disease progression to be detected early will revolutionise treatment intervention and improve patient outcome.
It will not only help identify patients that will benefit from further monitoring or treatment, but also identify those that will not need this follow up. It will also aid the development of early diagnosis tools, such as blood test kits.
Understanding cancer behaviour in response to diet and lifestyle factors may also provide advice that patients can adopt to help reduce the risk of secondary cancer.
Q&A, discussing prevention and the ABC Discover project
As part of our regular Research Q&A series, Sports Ambassador, Dr Karen met with Dr Paul Skipp, project leader on the ABC Discover project to learn more about his 5-year research project to better understand how diet and lifestyle affects disease progression and metastasis;
WDHD1 is essential for the survival of PTEN-inactive triple negative breast cancer. Cell Death and Disease. Ertay, A., Liu, H., Liu, D., Peng, P., Hill, C., Xiong, H., Hancock, D., Yuan, X., Przewloka, M., Coldwell, M., Howell, M., Skipp, P., Ewing, R., Downward, J., & Wang, Y. (2020). , 11:1001.
Identification of proteins associated with development of metastasis from cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCCs) via proteomic analysis of primary cSCCs. Shapanis, A., Lai, C., Smith, S., Coltart, G., Sommerlad, M., Schofield, J., Skipp P. J., Healy, E. (2020). British Journal of Dermatology. DOI: 10.1111/bjd.19485