New paper published in Nature by Lister Fellow Dr Ross Chapman and collaborators

We are very pleased to report that Lister Fellow Dr Ross Chapman, of Cancer Research UK (CRUK), has recently published an important new paper in the prestigious journal Nature on breast cancer.

The paper, entitled “Targeting TRIM37-driven centrosome dysfunction in 17q23-amplified breast cancer,” discusses a previously unknown genetic vulnerability that is present in nearly 10% percent of all breast cancer tumours.

The research also discusses how this vulnerability can be exploited in order to selectively target and kill cancer cells, which could have implications for the development of future therapies.

Data shows that approximately 5,000 newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer in the UK carry this genetic fault. It’s identification could make it possible to target cells originating from a specific subset of human breast cancer tumours that can be killed with a chemical which inhibits PLK4, an enzyme important for a specialized part of a cell called the centrosome.

Dr Chapman’s team worked alongside researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA, to discover that the vulnerable breast cancer cells in question cannot survive without their centrosome.

A cell’s centrosome plays an important role in regulating cell division and safety mechanisms are usually present to prevent them being lost. The research detailed in the paper explains how the genetic vulnerability uncovered can determine that the particular cells both become cancerous and have an over-reliance on their centrosome for cell division.

Dr Chapman is an Associate Professor at Cancer Research UK and Head of the Genome Integrity Laboratory based at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit in the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford.

You can find out more about his work on this Lister Fellow profile.