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For many patients, once the breast cancer has gone metastatic, when it has spread beyond the breast, conventional chemotherapy is no longer effective. This means that, for now, advanced breast cancer is a terminal diagnosis.
Dr Barker and his team aim to develop drugs that will target an enzyme, phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C (PC-PLC), that facilitates the spreading of tumours in triple negative breast cancer. If they are able to inhibit PC-PLC, the tumour shouldn't be able to spread and chemotherapy should still work.
Funding was provided by a tripartite partnership with BCFNZ, the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) and Breast Cancer Cure (BCC).