A scientist from Sheffield has been awarded a grant to study a molecule which might be key in the spread of breast cancer tumours.
Dr Aymen Idris, from the University of Sheffield, has been awarded around £100,000 by leading research charity Breast Cancer Now.
He will lead a three-year PhD studentship to understand the role of I Kappa B K Epsilon IKBKE in the spread of breast cancer.
When breast tumours spread throughout the body – known as secondary breast cancer – it cannot be cured and is the reason that many women lose their lives to the disease.
IKBKE is a molecule that is already known to have a key role in the development of breast cancer and experts believe it could also be involved in the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body, in particular the bone.
Dr Idris plans to use tissue donated by patients to the Breast Cancer Now Tissue Bank, measuring the amounts of IKBKE in samples of breast tumours in order to see whether the molecule could be used to indicate how likely a person’s breast cancer is to spread.
Through investigation in the lab and in mice, Dr Idris will also explore how the IKBKE molecule helps breast tumours to spread throughout the body as well as investigating whether removing or blocking the molecule using an existing drug could prevent the spread.
Dr Richard Berks, senior research communications officer at Breast Cancer Now, said: “This project could ultimately lead to new ways to predict and prevent the spread of breast cancer, improving the chances of survival for women with the disease and bringing us a step closer to finally putting an end to breast cancer deaths in the UK.”