Developing a new targeted drug for triple-negative breast cancer

Triple negative breast cancer

Triple negative breast cancer is a type of breast cancer that is particularly hard to treat. It tends to grow and spread aggressively, and we don’t currently have a targeted therapy available to treat people with the disease.

This is where Dr Katie Finegan’s Stand Up To Cancer-funded research comes in. She’s particularly interested in the way triple negative breast cancer avoids being attacked by the immune system.

A molecule called ERK5 is found at very high levels in triple negative breast cancer cells and allows the tumour to hijack the anti-cancer cells of the immune system – completely rewiring the immune system to protect and promote tumour growth, rather than destroying it.

Katie hopes to develop a new drug that can block the activity of ERK5, allowing the cells of the immune system to do their job and take the cancer cells out. If successful, this research could lead to a brand-new targeted therapy for people with triple negative breast cancer.