A Queen’s University researcher has been awarded funding from Breast Cancer Campaign to further investigate the role of the BCRA1 gene in the development of the disease.
Dr Konstantin Panov from the School of Biological Sciences and Centre for Cancer Research & Cell Biology at Queen’s has been awarded a £20,000 pilot grant. The grant forms part of £5 million awarded by Breast Cancer Campaign in 2009.
Dr Panov believes that the BCRA1 gene could be crucial in a process called ribosome production. Ribosomes are produced in large numbers when cells become cancerous and are vital as they generate molecules required to help them grow and multiply. This pilot project aims to establish the role of the BRCA1 gene in this process.
Dr Panov will study breast cancer cells grown in the laboratory that either have no BRCA1 gene or one that doesn’t work well. He will investigate the effect this has on the cells’ ability to produce molecules that are building blocks for the ribosomes; enabling him to determine at what stage BRCA1 could be involved.
Dr Panov said: “I am grateful to Breast Cancer Campaign for this grant. I hope the study will provide vital knowledge about the BRCA1 gene that could help us stop ribosome production spiraling out of control and causing cells to become cancerous.”
Arlene Wilkie, Director of Research and Policy, Breast Cancer Campaign said: “There are many genes involved in breast cancer development and we need to find out their role in starting the disease in the first place. This pilot grant could be the first step in finding urgently needed new treatments to help beat breast cancer and increase the chances of survival for thousands of people.”