Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide (1.7 million new cases a year), and in Australia accounts for almost 30% of new cases of cancer in women, seen as >15,000 new cases and >3,000 deaths per year. In addition to the impact on patients and their families, more than $300 million of health expenditure is allocated to managing breast cancer, and this amount is rising. Research is urgently needed to reduce the incidence and improve the management of breast cancer, through more efficient and effective prevention strategies, risk prediction, outcome prediction and more personalized patient management.

Targetted brain metastasis in breast cancer

The UQ Faculty of Medicine research team is investigating new treatment options for incurable metastatic brain tumours formed by cancer cells that have migrated from the breast. Through the aid of strategic partnerships with hospitals and medical research institutes, we have identified promising drug targets in these tumours, laying the foundations for new therapies. This study and others ultimately aim to improve outcomes for breast cancer patients who are most at risk of relapse due to metastasis to the brain and other sites.

The Brisbane Breast Bank

Through partnerships with clinical collaborators we have formed a translational research network, at the centre of which is the Brisbane Breast Bank (BBB). The BBB is a breast tissue biobank that is helping researchers around the world to better understand how breast cancer develops, and to identify new drug targets. Established in 2005, the BBB has contributed resources to projects like the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), and is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, National Breast Cancer Foundation and Cancer Council Queensland.

Breast cancer research leaders