Our laboratory, jointly headed by Professor Geoff Lindeman and Professor Jane Visvader, studies the molecular and cellular processes that underpin normal breast development and how things go awry that lead to breast cancer. We use this information to advance new prevention strategies and therapies for breast cancer.
Important contributions to breast cancer research include:
An important focus of our laboratory is the transfer of discoveries to the clinic. Towards this end, we have generated valuable pre-clinical models to study novel treatments. These include ‘BH3 mimetics’, which target and switch off BCL2 proteins (which are responsible for keeping cancer cells alive). Several or our laboratory discoveries have entered clinical trials. To facilitate transfer of laboratory discoveries to the clinic we have established a Translational Centre for Breast Cancer Research (TransBCR).
Our mission is to master breast cancer by understanding the genetic and cellular changes that lead to breast cancer.
In many ways breast cancer can be viewed as a caricature of normal development that has gone awry. Our vision is to apply innovative and cutting-edge technologies that deliver new insights into breast cancer, and apply these discoveries in bench-to-bedside research aimed at treating or even preventing breast cancer.
Our points of focus are:
Our laboratory has made influential contributions to understanding mammary gland development and breast cancer. Methodologies developed by our group are used by the field worldwide.
Key discoveries include:
Our lab’s work has paved the way for understanding mammary differentiation hierarchy, and the methodologies developed by our group are now used by the field worldwide. Our pre-clinical studies on chemoprevention strategies have led to global clinical trials.
This involves the generation of oncogene and tumour suppressor-driven models, as well as the tracking of the earliest events in neoplasia by lineage tracing in combination with 3D imaging. Multiple models of oncogenesis have been generated for the analysis of the preneoplastic and neoplastic phases, at both the cellular and molecular levels.
We have established a large bank of PDX models that represent the various subtypes of breast cancer and recapitulate the primary tumour in the patient. These represent powerful pre-clinical models for testing novel therapies (eg BCL-2 family inhibitors), exploring the metastasis and cancer stem cells. This work has the potential of identifying new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for breast cancer.
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Our team collaborates a number of laboratories at WEHI, including bioinformaticians (Smyth and Chen Laboratories), cancer biologists (Fu, Sutherland, Scot and Strasser Laboratories) and immunologists (Gray Laboratory).
We have established a Translational Research hub (TransBCR) with local and interstate partners, and have strong links to the clinic that include Parkville Breast Unit, Parkville Familial Cancer Centre, Parkville Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victorian Cancer Biobank, Breast Cancer Trials Australia and kConFab.