At present, there are no adequate treatments for triple negative breast cancer, an extremely aggressive cancer with high mortality rates. One of the most significant complications of this cancer is that 60% of patients develop metastases, the causes of which remain largely unknown.
Advances in understanding the immune system have enabled the following to be identified: a highly varied and heterogeneous group of tumour cells (called myeloid cells), which occasionally behave abnormally, stop rejection of the tumour and may have a crucial function in the development of metastases. However, there are very few in-depth studies that enable us to understand this process in detail.
Dr Casanova will use state-of-the-art techniques to understand this process, through in depth study of the populations of myeloid cells that lead to metastasis and finding the weak points in these cells on which to target therapies. This could ultimately pave the way for effective triple negative breast cancer treatments.