New Discovery Provides Potential Improvement in Breast Cancer Treatment Globally

Research Findings Published In Prestigious British Journal Of Cancer

New Zealand research scientists and clinicians along with collaborators in the United Kingdom, Singapore and China are a step closer to bringing a new clinical tool or biomarker, to guide clinical decision-making in the management of breast cancer, to market. 

A cancer-related protein, named SHON (secreted hominoid specific oncogene), has been demonstrated to be significantly associated with breast cancer’s response to treatment.  Not only can it accurately predict if a patient will benefit from endocrine therapy, but it can also predict a patient’s response to chemotherapy before surgical removal of the tumour. 

 Dong-Xu Liu, Associate Professor at AUT and the lead researcher of this study, received a $200,000 grant for his work from the Breast Cancer Research Partnership of the Health Research Council, Breast Cancer Cure and Breast Cancer Foundation NZ. Breast Cancer Foundation NZ gave two additional grants totalling $160,000.

 Liu says, “Breast cancer is curable if treated in a timely fashion and with the correct therapy. We might have found a way to improve the efficacy of endocrine therapy, the most widely- used breast cancer treatment for two-thirds of breast cancer patients.

 “We can now predict those who will not respond to the therapy and they may now receive alternative treatment improving their chance of survival from breast cancer and allowing them to lead a quality life after cancer.”

 These findings have the potential to change the current clinical practice of breast cancer management around the world.  In fact, doctors would have a reliable prognostic tool to use in their treatment decision-making process.  The research manuscript has now been accepted for publication in the British Journal of Cancer, a prestigious journal in the field.

 Liu continues, “Breast cancer affects one in nine New Zealand women in their lifetime and accounts for almost half of the cancers in NZ women.  Our findings would allow breast cancer patients to receive treatments that are the most appropriate to their characteristics, therefore improving treatment response and saving lives.”

 Annually there are 2.1 million new cases of female breast cancer around the world and despite improved treatment options it is understood that 626,000 women still die from the disease each year. It is also now known that breast cancer is not a single disease, but a complex group of diseases that are highly heterogeneous in their genotype, phenotype, sensitivity to treatment and clinical outcome.

 Liu says, “Our next step is to apply for funding for a feasibility study before conducting a randomised control clinical trial in the near future.  This is a pivotal point in the research and one we would not have achieved were it not for the support and funding we have received to date.  I am indebted to the people and organisations who have stuck with me through this long journey.”

 Phillipa Green, General Manager at Breast Cancer Cure, says, “It is hugely satisfying to fund a study of this nature as once the work is complete it will assist clinicians to tailor treatment more specifically to a patient’s cancer which will improve the outcome.  This is why we all fundraise – to ensure we can put money into life-changing research.”

 Evangelia Henderson, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, says, “Biomarkers and tests that predict with a high degree of accuracy how well a patient will respond to breast cancer treatment will play a huge role in reducing deaths. We look forward to seeing what happens next as a result of Dr Liu’s excellent study.”

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Further Research Funding

The Breast Cancer Research in NZ partnership programme, established by the Health Research Council (HRC), Breast Cancer Cure (BCC) and the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ (BCFNZ), are pleased to announce the release of further funding in 2019.

Through this request for proposals, the HRC, BCC and BCFNZ are seeking high quality research in breast cancer, to improve and ultimately ensure survival from the disease.

There are two separate funding opportunities available to apply for.

Project: The funding available per proposal is up to a maximum of $250,000 (excl GST) over 2 years

Fellowship: The funding available per proposal is up to a maximum of $250,000 (excl GST) for salary, salary associated costs and research expenses. A maximum of $30,000 (exclusive of GST) per year of research expenses may be included. The duration of each fellowship is up to 2 years.

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Fashion for a Cure heads to Wanaka

On the 28th November, Fashion for a Cure will showcase leading NZ fashion designers latest collections for the first time in Wanaka.

Designers will include Moochi, Kathryn Wilson, Storm, Trelise Cooper, Coop, Yvonne Bennetti, Ruby Liam Zambesi and Edmund Hillary

Hosted by Shane Cortese with a live auction, cocktails by Cardrona Distillery, canapés and a goody bag, this will be a night to remember!

Read more and purchase your tickets here.

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Edmund Hillary Collection to Showcase in Wellington

They were new to New Zealand Fashion Week this year and we now welcome the Edmund Hillary Collection to Fashion for a Cure in Wellington!

Join us for an evening to be inspired with the latest collections from New Zealand designers including Trelise Cooper, Zambesi, Coop, Storm, Yvonne Bennetti, Moochi, Kathryn Wilson and Edmund Hillary.

To complete your night enjoy a selection of wine from The Ned, a “Cardrona Cosmo” cocktail by Cardrona Distillery, canapes and a fabulous goody bag!

Read more and purchase your tickets here.


Fashion for a Cure

Tickets are now on sale for our 2018 Auckland show!

An evening to enjoy at Maserati Newmarket viewing the latest season collections from leading New Zealand designers including Moochi, Storm, Coop, Zambesi, Federation, Trelise Cooper, Ruby, Liam, Somekind, Kathryn Wilson, Carlson and Yvonne Bennetti. 

You'll be hosted by our Breast Cancer Cure Ambassador Jacqui Brown, entertained by Arii Jade - The Mermaid DJ and hear from Dr Francis Hunter a Breast Cancer Cure funded scientific researcher.

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