Dr Delphine Merino

Dedicated breast cancer researcher Dr Delphine Merino has been awarded the Susan G. Komen Career Catalyst Research Grant to further her vital research into breast cancer metastases.

Through a partnership between Komen – a USA-based breast cancer funding organisation – and Cancer Australia, the grant cements a joint commitment by the funders to support research that will identify and deliver cures for breast cancer worldwide.

This unique and highly competitive research grant will enable Dr Merino to lead her vital research into breast cancer metastases for the next three years.

As Head of the Tumour Progression and Heterogeneity Laboratory in the Translational Breast Cancer Program at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Dr Merino and her team aim to identify the most aggressive cells in patient tumours which are responsible for breast cancer progression and mortality.

“The mortality associated with breast cancer is largely due to the spread of breast cancer cells to vital organs in the body,” said Dr Merino.

“There is an urgent need to elucidate the genetic properties of malignant cells responsible for metastatic spread and treatment failure,” she said.

Patients are at the heart of her research. Dr Merino’s research is centred on discoveries that will impact patient survival and personalised medicine.

This grant will enable further research to help characterise the ability of malignant cells to metastasise in different organs and resist current therapies. In identifying which therapy metastatic cells will be susceptible to, outcomes for breast cancer patients can be significantly improved.

“Understanding the genetic properties of cancer cells within a tumour will allow us to implement new therapies to treat patients with recurrent disease,” said Dr Merino.

The study of metastatic breast cancer has been the focus of Dr Merino’s research for a number of years.

“As a dedicated breast cancer researcher, I share with the Susan G. Komen Foundation the ultimate goal of reducing breast cancer deaths by 2026. This prestigious grant will ensure continued momentum in my endeavours toward improving the lives of patients with breast cancer.”

Main image description: Labelling of breast cancer cells