A potential new therapy
Dr Samantha Oakes leads the Cell Survival Group in Garvan’s Cancer Division. Here she shares some insights on how breast cancer cells survive and spread throughout the body.
What motivates your research?
I’ve always been interested in science. When I was little, a tumour (thankfully benign) was found in my younger brother’s leg. That experience taught me a lot about medical care. From then I realised how important medical research is to advancing medical care and helping improve outcomes for people with cancer.
In layman’s terms, can you describe your current research and findings?
Recently, we uncovered a new way to stop the spread of breast cancer in mice. Excitingly, this could lead to a new combination therapy for breast cancer patients with the anti-cancer drug dasatinib.
What excites you most about this?
At the end of the day, we want to help people with breast cancer, and this potential new therapy could do just that. Importantly, this treatment method could also be applied to other cancers like pancreatic, prostate and lung cancer.
What are the next challenges in your research?
Our work has only been tested in mice and we need to do more research to bring the discoveries to the clinic. Another challenge to us at the moment is funding: the more funding we have, the faster we can achieve our ultimate goal of making advanced cancer a treatable disease.