Do dormant breast cancer cells that survive chemotherapy become secondary tumours? If so, what are the vital steps in this process?
These are the key questions asked by the recipient of the second of our research grants issued following our call for proposals last year.
The recipient based at the University of Sheffield, Professor Ingunn Holen is determined to address this critical gap in our current knowledge by improving our understanding of the characteristics which are needed for these types of cells to become secondary tumours (metastatic).
Over 18-months Professor Holen will research how dormant cancer cells survive chemotherapy and regrow. She will be attempting to disrupt this process and eliminate such cells.
Dormant cancer cells that survive chemotherapy may grow into new tumours, sometimes many years after treatment is completed and we do not yet have drugs that can kill them off because we do not yet understand the processes involved in their survival.
It is hoped that this research may help us to understand this process and identify potential targets for new treatments such as biomarkers. If successful this could assist identifying which patients at high risk of metastasis and therefore requiring preventative action.