Discovery and functional characterisation of novel microRNAs and other non-coding RNAs that regulate epithelial-mesenchymal transition and breast cancer metastasis
The spread (or metastasis) of breast cancers to other organs is a prominent cause of cancer-related death. My research focuses on a group of small molecules, called microRNAs, which play important roles in cancer progression. In particular, I have identified two microRNAs which get switched off during breast cancer progression and aim to discover how these molecules control whether a cancer cell remains less or more aggressive.
What we aim to achieve
If we can work out what makes a breast cancer cell spread to a distant site then we have the potential to diagnose, slow or perhaps even stop this process. My research to identify the key switches driving cancer cells to become aggressive aims to provide improved diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities for people with early stage breast cancer.
Our next steps and milestones
The Cancer Council SA Beat Cancer Project funding has already enabled the discovery of novel mechanisms whereby cancer cells change their aggressiveness. The immediate next step is to consolidate the importance of these pathways in breast cancer using pre-clinical models.
What motivates me
Cancer afflicts the lives of many people, including some of those closest to me. I am motivated by the challenge of discovering what drives cancer cells to become aggressive and by the encouragement I receive when I tell people this is what I do.
My message to supporters
I want to take this opportunity to thank Cancer Council SA donors for their tremendous support of cancer research. This has enabled me to advance to the new frontiers of microRNAs, which hold great promise as diagnostic and therapeutic tools for breast cancer treatment.