Study into ‘recipe’ for breast cancer

Thursday 16 August 2007

University of St Andrews scientists have been awarded funding to investigate a potential new method of treating breast cancer.

Professor Richard Iggo and Dr Frank Gunn-Moore are among a group of eight scientists in Scotland to receive a share of £510,000 from Breast Cancer Campaign.  The funding will allow the St Andrews researchers to launch a one-year pilot study into a protein called NrCAM found in breast cancer cells.

A recent study of the genetic information found in breast cancer cells revealed that 122 genes have abnormalities (mutations) that are potentially involved in breast cancer development. One of these abnormal genes is the `recipe’ for making the protein NrCAM.

NrCAM (in green) within brain nerve cellsThe NrCAM protein was previously known to be involved in nerve cell growth, but it has recently been found to exist in large amounts in melanomas and colon tumours. Professor Iggo will test whether abnormal forms of this protein can force normal breast cells to change into breast cancer cells and become tumours. The work brings together Professor Iggo’s expertise in cancer and Dr Frank Gunn-Moore’s expertise on NrCAM – his research group have previously studied its involvement in nerve cell growth.

Professor Iggo said, “The long term goal is to investigate whether targeting NrCAM can be used as a new way to treat breast cancer.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and accounts for nearly one in three of all cancers in women, with almost 44,000 (120 a day) new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women in the UK each year.

Breast Cancer Campaign, the only charity that specialises in funding independent breast cancer research throughout the UK, has invested  £4.2 million in research in the last year.

Pamela Goldberg, Chief Executive of the Breast Cancer Campaign, said, “Breast cancer research is saving lives and our mission is to beat breast cancer by funding world class research projects such as this to keep up the momentum of bringing us closer to a cure.”






PROFESSOR IGGO – Tel 01334 463415/3558, email: [email protected] DR FRANK GUNN-MOORE, Tel 01334 463525, email: [email protected]

Breast Cancer Campaign Media contact: Claire Learner, Tel: 020 7749 3705, email: [email protected] 


Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email [email protected]
Ref:  Breast cancer recipe 150807
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Category Research

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