While we often hear in the media that the survival rate of women diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing, unfortunately the survival rate for women with secondary breast cancer – also known as metastatic breast cancer – paints a very different picture.

Love Your Sister and Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) are now working together to try and change this statistic with the help of a dedicated Research Assistant who will work with ONJCRI researchers Dr Belinda Yeo  and Dr Delphine Merino  – two of Australia’s leading breast cancer research experts.

Dr Yeo is a medical oncologist who treats breast cancer patients. Dr Merino runs a breast cancer lab at ONJCRI that specifically deals with the cancer cells responsible for forming metastatic cancers. And while they make a great team, this new Research Assistant will bridge a gap to turn their ultimate goal of giving women with metastatic breast cancer alternative treatment options.

The initial 3 years study which will be conducted onsite at ONJCRI will see the Research Assistant obtain necessary consent from patients who are willing to donate their tumour sample to research, transport the precious samples to the laboratory and process it through the ONJCRI Tumour Progression and Heterogeneity Laboratory part of the  ONJCRI Translational Breast Cancer Program led by renowned breast cancer researcher Professor Robin Anderson

Lab testing will consist of examining the genetic makeup of every single cell present in a given sample, finding its weaknesses and accordingly, testing the efficacy of the most suitable drugs for this patient’s tumour.

If this initial study proves successful, the next phase – and ultimately the new treatment approach – would take this process a step further and these results could help inform decisions on which drug may be best to attach to the women’s particular cancer. The oncologist can then consider the recommended drug as part of their treatment plan for the patient.

This is an exciting prospect given that over 18,000 Australian women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, 1/3 of which will also have metastatic breast cancer later in their life.

The Love Your Sister partnership ensures that ONJCRI can now have a full time Research Assistant whose sole focus is to potentially change the cancer story for over 3,000 Australian women currently dying of metastatic breast cancer each year.

We are fighting cancer – Together.

Visit Love Your Sister to find out more, to support this partnership and to show cancer who is boss.

Find out more:

 ONJCRI Translational Breast Cancer Program

ONJCRI Tumour Progression and Heterogeneity Laboratory

Love Your Sister