Professor Andrew Scott, Head of ONJCRI’s Tumour Targeting Program has been awarded an Investigator Initiated Research Scheme (IIRS) grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) to investigate how effective the 6B3 antibody is at treating triple-negative breast cancer.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) accounts for around 10-15% of all breast cancers. TNBC differs from other types of breast cancer in that it is more aggressive, has fewer treatment options, and unfortunately has one of the highest rates of recurrence.

“TNBC tumours lack three targets that are known to fuel breast cancer growth – estrogen, progesterone and HER2 receptors. This means that the treatment that is often successful in other breast cancer types, is not effective against TNBC” says Professor Scott.

Professor Scott has been working with Professor Roger Daly from Monash University and Dr Ingrid Burvenich from the ONJCRI to develop a novel approach called targeted antibody therapy, to convert estrogen insensitive tumours, like TNBCs, into tumours that have the estrogen receptor, ultimately making them responsive to readily available and effective hormone therapy.

“This project will investigate how effective an antibody called 6B3 is at treating TNBC. In mouse models, our team has shown that the 6B3 antibody can restore the expression of estrogen receptors to the tumour, hence making the cancer sensitive to anti-estrogen therapy,” says Professor Scott.

In addition to this, they will use an imaging technique, PET/MRI to assess the response of cancer cells to 6B3 and determine the best timing for combination with anti-estrogen therapy.

“We would ultimately like to see this antibody targeting moved into a clinical trial over the coming years. If successful, this could make a significant impact to those patients diagnosed with TNBC’s and offer a new novel therapy that could improve patient outcomes,” he says.

“We are extremely grateful to the NBCF for their generous support of this project.”