Posted: October 4, 2007

AIBN team involved in early detection tools for breast cancer

(Nanowerk News) Women with advanced breast cancer are the targets of a multi-million dollar grant awarded to the University of Queensland to develop a new and more accurate technique of determining whether or not cancer has spread through the body.
Headed by Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology’s (AIBN) Professor Matt Trau the $5 million dollar grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) combines the latest developments in molecular genetics and nanotechnology to create and clinically test novel diagnostic technologies that will dramatically impact on early detection, prediction and treatment of advanced breast cancer.
He said that one of the greatest fears for women treated for breast cancer was that the cancer will return and spread to other parts of their bodies.
“Rather than waiting for a lump or other symptoms to return, this team hopes to develop a blood teat that would tell patients early if the cancer has returned, so they can receive treatment quickly and with a greater likelihood of success,” he said.
“Identification and treatment of women with early stage breast cancer, who are at risk of developing advanced breast cancer, remains a significant dilemma in breast cancer management.
“Our program aims to address this issue, because currently once a woman has advanced breast cancer, the prognosis is poor.”
Professor Trau paid tribute to the unique team of outstanding Australian researchers which includes the nation’s leading epigeneticist Associate Professor Susan Clark from The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, and breast cancer surgeon and clinical trials expert Professor John Forbes from The University of Newcastle.
Other investigators are Dr Melissa Brown (UQ); A/Prof Glenn Francis, Princess Alexandra Hospital; A/Prof Alexander Dobrovic, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (Peter Mac); Prof Rodney Scott, The University of Newcastle.
“The priorities of this research include discovering novel biomarkers which are predictors of early and advanced breast cancer and developing a diagnostic technology that will allow early detection and diagnosis of advanced breast cancer in the clinic,” he said.
National Breast Cancer Foundation CEO Ms Sue Murray said this was the first time this level of funding had been committed to breast cancer research.
“If we want to speed up our efforts to answer the big questions in breast cancer then the NBCF should be funding larger-scale, long-term projects,” she said.
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Source: AIBN