New study of crucial molecule in breast cancer recurrence

A leading scientist from Birmingham has been awarded a grant of more than £200,000 by research charity Breast Cancer Now to study how a particular molecule called PRMT5 might be helping breast cancer stem cells survive – making tumours more likely to grow back after treatment. Breast stem cells are a rare group of cells inside breast tumours, which can help breast cancer to become resistant to drugs and return after treatment has been completed.

Currently one in five cases recur within 10 years of treatment, making it vital that research is completed to make treatment more effective and therefore complete life expectancy. Dr Clare Davis, based at the University of Birmingham, will lead the three year study to investigate the role of the PRMT5 molecule in breast cancer cells and whether removing the molecules stops the tumour growing. Dr Richard Berks, Senior Research Communications Officer at Breast Cancer Now, said: “We urgently need to discover what causes breast cancer to return after treatment, and a greater understanding of breast cancer stem cells will be crucial to this progress. “Dr Davies’ research could eventually lead to novel treatments that target breast cancer stem cells, something we hope will ultimately improve the chances of survival for women with breast cancer.”