Funds raised by Le Cure support innovative breast cancer research projects at The Royal Marsden.
These pioneering research projects aim to transform and save the lives of breast cancer patients, providing them with better treatment options. Since its inception in 2014 Le Cure has created six Le Cure Research Fellowships, three of which have been completed and have successfully developed the understanding of why breast cancers respond to treatment in different ways. In March 2021 the Le Cure Scientific Committee approved a grant for a new project that will be the focus of Le Cure fundraising until 2027.
We will be climbing the mountains again in 2022 to fund this ambitious and vital research.
Under the direction of Professor Nick Turner TRAK-ER hopes to accelerate the analysis of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) in the blood into routine clinical use in early stage breast cancer. Identifying ctDNA can help clinicians detect relapse sooner and might also be useful in preventing patients receiving chemotherapy when they don’t need it. This project aims to accelerate the use of liquid biopsies to identify relapses sooner, when more treatment options are available.
Matthew Beaney is developing a new, more sensitive test to detect ctDNA in blood with the aim of guiding treatment by identifying those who benefit from chemotherapy and also those who are at risk of relapse despite having had chemotherapy.
In this trial Professor Mitch Dowsett is trying to improve treatment options for post menopausal breast cancer patients who develop resistance to treatment.
Claire Swift is working on triple negative breast cancer, a subtype that does not respond to hormone blocking drugs and is often more aggressive than most other breast cancers.
Dr Charlotte Fribbens looked at using the presence of estrogen receptor (ESR1) mutations in blood tests for patients taking hormone therapy as a predictor to indicate the likelihood of the patient developing resistance to that therapy.
Looking at the group of patients who do not respond to hormonal treatment Dr Mariana Ferreira Leal demonstrated that it is possible to deliver accurate molecular analysis within a week of a patient starting treatment. Her research then identified patients whose cancer cells were resistant to the Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs) that are used to treat hormone receptor positive breast cancers with the aim of guiding more optimal treatment choices.
This study by Claire Swift & Monee Shamsher used the Illumina MiniSeq machine to establish whether ctDNA can predict cancer recurrence and establish whether an absence of such ctDNA could mean avoiding chemotherapy.
Information about the research has been extracted from The Le Cure Fund Update published in Spring 2021 prepared by Professor Ian Smith, Chair of the Le Cure Scientific Committee, Professor Nick Turner, Head of the Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research, Professor Mitch Dowsett, Claire Swift and Matthew Beaney. If you have any questions or would like more information please contact Freya Demmery at the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity: [email protected]