CRIS EXCELLENCE PROGRAMME 2021
Breast cancer remains one of the biggest challenges in cancer research. 1 out of 8 women will develop breast cancer at some time in their lives.
Breast tumours are generally classified according to whether or not the tumour cells possess certain molecules to facilitate the choice of treatments: Hormone-receptor positive (if they have hormone receptors), HER2 positive (if they have the HER2 receptor on their surface), or Triple negative if they do not have any of these molecules.
Patients with hormone-receptor positive tumours are usually treated with hormone therapies or certain targeted treatments. However, many of these patients (between 20% and 30%) have tumours that do not behave as expected according to this classification, such as HER2-enriched tumours, which do not respond correctly to hormone therapies or other targeted treatments. In fact, they may benefit from other treatments, such as those given against HER2 tumours or even immunotherapy. It is therefore a priority to understand these tumours in depth to fight them more effectively.
Dr Aleix Prat’s team will study why HER2-enriched tumours resist conventional therapies, explore the role of immunotherapy and anti-HER2 treatments in these tumours, and design strategies to detect during diagnosis patients with this type of tumour that is so difficult to treat. The results of this project will translate into clinical trials and have the potential to change the way hormone-receptor positive breast cancer is tackled.