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A cross-cultural landscape to improve breast cancer outcomes

Group of people in lab, some with medical attire.
Professor Rik Thompson and members of the circulating tumour cells (CTC) laboratories at IHBI, QUT, demonstrate the microfluidic isolation of CTCs to Queensland's Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy, the Hon Leeanne Enoch. Credit: QUT

Project description

QUT's breast cancer project aims to improve the survival of breast cancer patients through treatment strategies. Epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), which aids the formation of new tissues in developing embryos, is hijacked by cancers to facilitate metastasis to distant organs. EMT helps cancer cells survive in the blood as circulating tumour cells (CTCs). This project brings together three major advances: EMT's role in therapy resistance; propagation (cell culture) of the CTCs found in the blood; and the groundbreaking drug, eribulin, that attacks and kills cancer cells but also reverses EMT. CTCs from advanced breast cancer patients in India and Australia will be expanded in culture and treated with eribulin and other agents to assess reversal of EMT and therapy resistance. CTCs from eribulin-treated patients will be assessed for EMT status and therapy responses. Shared training between both labs will enrich cross-cultural collaboration, as will the establishment of an Indo-EMT sister network to Australia's Oz-TEMTIA. Both will be affiliated with the international forum for researchers studying the process of cell separation and invasion, TEMTIA. The project will also create breast cancer awareness activities in India.

Key dates

  • 2-12 Oct 2017 – Lab visit from Thompson lab member to IOB, Bangalore, India
  • 6 Oct 2017 – Indo-EMT Meeting, Bangalore, India
  • 2-12 April 2018 – Lab visit from Kumar lab member to IHBI QUT at the Translational Research Institute (TRI), Brisbane

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Last Updated: 5 October 2017
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