Research into aggressive breast cancer buoyed by interdisciplinary grant

Two Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute scientists have received funding to research new treatments for triple negative breast cancer, in conjunction with a scientist from the Faculty of Science. Triple negative breast cancer is notoriously aggressive and difficult to treat, with the cancer often becoming resistant to treatments.

Dr Lan Nguyen and Professor Roger Daly from the Biomedicine Discovery Institute, along with Associate Professor Tianhai Tian from the School of Mathematical Sciences, received $210,000 from Monash's Interdisciplinary Research support program to work toward a systems-level understanding of the emergence of drug resistance in triple negative breast cancer.

Dr Nguyen said the treatment of triple negative breast cancer presented a major clinical challenge due to the frequent occurrence of drug resistance.

“We face a situation where a cure in reach is obliterated by the development of drug resistance,” Dr Nguyen said.

“Our research proposal tackles this problem by taking new routes to overcome drug resistance, yielding new insights into resistance mechanisms, new biomarkers for drug sensitivity, and new drug combinations tailored for individual patients,” he said.

“We hope the project could profoundly change the management of drug resistance, and benefit patients in Australia and worldwide.”

Launched in 2012, the aim of Monash's Interdisciplinary Research support program is to foster research that leverages the breadth of the universities expertise, bringing together disciplines to tackle major research challenges.

Chair of the selection panel, Professor Pauline Nestor, said the success of the Interdisciplinary Research support program over the years and the return on investment had been terrific.

“There are some great things happening across the Monash research community in Interdisciplinary Research and this program provides the mechanism to ensure exciting projects are supported as they are developed,” Professor Nestor said.