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Myoepithelial degradome in the progression of DCIS to invasive cancer


Project Description

Breast cancer is overtreated because we cannot identify women whose ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) will develop into invasive cancer. Using patient-derived cells, we have developed an in vitro model of the breast duct bilayer to study early steps in cancer progression (Carter et al. Breast Cancer Res. 2017. 19(2), 50). In combination with transcriptomic analysis of patient cells, and a novel degradomic approach (collaborating with Prof Ulrich auf dem Keller, DTU), this project will interrogate the cellular changes that allow invasion, thus discovering functional biomarkers of progression for clinical use.
Since myoepithelial cells can adopt an invasive phenotype under conditions associated with advanced cancer, we hypothesise that myoepithelial cells lead the invasion of cancerous luminal cells. Uncovering how cancer associated myoepithelial cells degrade their surrounding matrix during invasion and how such activity is modified by other stromal elements will provide insights into the biology of this transition and deliver functional markers to predict disease progression.
Using patient-derived cells in our ductal model, unbiased expression analysis and proteomics, the successful applicant help will determine how myoepithelial cells facilitate invasion in the transition of DCIS to invasive breast cancer.

A graduate with an interest in cancer cell biology/breast cancer/cell signalling, with or is expecting at least an upper second class honours degree in a relevant biological/biochemical/pharmacological subject, is required for this project involving investigating the role of myoepithelial cells in the progression of DCIS to invasive cancer. An MSc/MRes, or laboratory experience, in a relevant area may well prove advantageous.

To apply, click on the Visit Website button below.

Funding Notes

The project will commence ideally in summer 2019 and has funding for 4 years from Cancer Research UK as part of an Early Detection Project Grant (tax-free stipend of £21,000 per annum). The student will be based primarily at the Barts Cancer Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD), Charterhouse Square in the City of London but will have the opportunity to travel to our collaborator’s lab at DTU, Copenhagen.

How good is research at Queen Mary University of London in Clinical Medicine?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 144.11

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