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Leading Australian researchers win grant for BRCA gene research

Latest research 09 Dec 2016

Leading Australian researchers win grant for BRCA gene research

Australian researchers Professor Jane Visvader and Professor Geoff Lindeman have been awarded the Ramaciotti Foundations medal for excellence in biomedical research and a $50,000 grant towards their breast cancer prevention research. The award recognises the ground-breaking breast cancer discoveries of Professors Visvader and Lindeman, who jointly lead the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute ACRF Stem Cells and Cancer Division, in Melbourne.

Over the past ten years, the researchers and the teams they work with have discovered breast stem cells, and have identified how errors in normal cell growth can lead to breast cancer. Most recently, they have identified the cells that cause faults, or mutations, to the BRCA1 gene. They have discovered that these cells may be able to be targeted with an existing drug called denosumab before they become cancerous. Denosumab is used to treat breast cancer that has spread to the bone, and is also commonly used to treat osteoporosis.

The research grant will support the researchers to run a breast cancer prevention trial for women with a faulty BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene. The trial aims to develop preventive treatments targeting the cells that are likely to develop into breast cancer in women who carry these gene faults. It is hoped this research may help to reduce the need for prophylactic (preventative) mastectomies in this high risk group of women.

BCNA congratulates Professor Jane Visvader and Professor Geoff Lindeman on their award.

For more information, see http://www.wehi.edu.au/news/ramaciotti-medal-excellence-awarded-breast-cancer-researchers