Students Staff

28 March 2011

Looking for early clues to breast cancer

Colchester Campus

Despite important advances in the research, treatment and early diagnosis of breast cancer, 12,500 women die every year from the disease in the UK.

With over 44,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer annually in this country, continued breast cancer research, in particular investigations into the early signs of the disease, are as important as ever.

Professor Elena Klenova, Dr Igor Chernukhin and Dr Dawn Farrar, from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University, have received a £205,000 grant from Cancer Research UK to investigate the early reversible changes in the genes associated with breast cancer development. The study will first be performed in model systems in the laboratory, before using clinical tissue specimens to validate the findings.

This project is part of the larger study conducted in Professor Klenova’s laboratory into the mechanisms of breast cancer development and early diagnosis of the condition and has been supported by several organisations including the Medical Research Council and the Breast Cancer Campaign.

Professor Klenova explained: “This research will be very important to understand the very early molecular mechanisms responsible for reversible changes in genes associated with breast cancer development. Contrary to genetic alterations, the changes we will be studying are not permanent as they do not alter the genetic material, DNA, raising the possibility of developing therapeutics restoring the normal cellular status.”

The three-year project is another example of some of the important research being carried out under the umbrella of the Essex Biomedical Sciences Institute (EBSI), which promotes clinically-relevant health and medical research through collaboration with NHS clinicians across the region. This partnership ensures that the EBSI’s cutting-edge research is targeted to the needs of patients and the public.


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