1. Breast reconstruction:
Natural fat tissue grafting is now popular for breast reconstruction as it has low surgical risk, but up to 70% of fat injected is lost. The team are studying extra cellular vesicles released from adipose stem cell injections to aid fat graft survival and retention in an effort to improve outcomes for those needing or seeking lower risk surgery. Kirsty Danielson University of Otago
2. Biomedical Prevention:
This study seeks to prevent breast cancer in genetically high-risk individuals through application of the antisense oligonucleotides therapy (previously used successfully for degenerative disorders). This therapy modifies the risk of the BRACA2 breast cancer variant through gene splicing laying the foundation for the development of risk-reducing therapies which will provide new options and will be of particular interest to younger women. Vanessa Lau et al University of Otago
3. Digital Pathology:
This study is moving pathology from microscopes to digitally scanned slides on computers to automatically identify and efficiently report on molecular and genomic changes by using algorithms to quantify and standardise results. This will make equity of access more achievable and improve prediction of response to treatment. Gavin Harris Universities of Auckland and Canterbury
4. Drug resistance:
This project delivers the first APOBEC3 (A&B) selective inhibitor into live cells, reducing the ability for cancer cells to block/adapt to chemo and immunotherapies, allowing treatments to progress without restriction and thereby reducing the possibility of metastasis and cancer re-occurrences. Filichev et al, Massey University. Patents achieved.
5. Biomarker for Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC):
(There are three main subtypes TNBC, HR+ and HER2+)
This study focus's on a protein biomarker HIF-1 in TNBC using glutaminase Inhibitors. The study is currently in phase two clinical evaluation. Dean Singleton, University of Auckland
6. Biomarker for Triple Negative Breast Cancer to understand who is at greater risk of advanced breast cancer:
The study is looking at how the Fn14 molecule works, how it expresses itself and what drives tumour behaviours and what leads to it being more aggressive in certain circumstances and whether it may be responsible for breast cancer metastasis in triple negative breast cancer.
They are looking to improve prognosis and are working towards identifying who is at greater risk. Dr Heather Cunliffe, University of Otago
7. Prediction of the re-occurance of breast cancer:
This blood marker study has identified two molecules, found in the blood of patients at the time of surgery for breast cancer, that were very good at predicting which women would have a relapse before five years. This study is validating these findings in a larger group of breast cancer patients. Annette Lasham, University of Auckland
8. Drug resistance for HER2+ Breast Cancer (T-DM1;Kadcyla)
Following an earlier study which significantly found a gene TSCI knockout may promote T-DM1 resistance. This study is validating these findings to understand which patients may need different therapies to prevent their cancer from progressing. Dr. Barbara Lipert, University of Auckland
9. High Risk full length variant classification in breast cancer:
This study of high risk genes seeks to understand, classify and more reliably identify breast cancer mutations. Members of team are part of an international panel and will develop rules for doctors which will be integrated into international guidelines. The study ensure that clinicians, individuals and their families will be able to take action to reduce the likelihood of the developing disease. Dr Logan Walker, University of Otago.