The Charity

Sarah lost her life to triple negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive types of the disease. Triple negative breast cancer is a form of the disease which has limited treatment options because it cannot be treated using targeted therapies available for other types of breast cancer. We urgently need to find new ways to treat triple negative breast cancer to improve the chances of survival for people with this form of the disease.

Your support is helping Breast Cancer Now’s research unit at King’s College to understand the basics of triple negative breast cancers and how they can be effectively treated. The research that you fund has already lead to several breakthrough discoveries. Our scientists found seven molecular markers that contribute to the behaviour of this disease, and have discovered a key gene that helps triple negative tumours to grow and spread. Together these findings represent an important leap in our understanding of why triple negative breast cancers are so difficult to treat and why they can be so aggressive. This insight will help us to develop better treatments for patients diagnosed with this hard-to-treat type of breast cancer and, ultimately, to save more lives.

Currently Breast Cancer Now’s research unit at King’s College is funding a project into ‘Developing a virus treatment for triple negative breast cancer’. When viruses attack the body, they find and infect specific cells in order to reproduce, which ultimately kills the cell. The immune system responds to viruses by finding the infected cells and destroying them, killing the viruses inside.

Dr Wang believes that the way that viruses attack the body could be exploited to develop a cancer treatment. Dr Wang has already developed viruses which specifically target and kill cancer cells. In this project, he will modify these viruses to include genes which make proteins that are commonly found on the surface of triple negative breast cancer cells.

Members of Sarah's family

Members of Sarah’s family

The ultimate goal is that these developed cancer-targeting viruses will find and destroy the triple negative breast cancer cells, and at the same time stimulate the immune system to clear any remaining cells – a treatment he calls a viro-immunotherapy.

He will develop these viruses and test them using triple negative breast cancer cells grown in the lab. Dr Wang’s research could lead to an effective and safe viro-immunotherapy treatment for triple negative breast cancer, so providing a new option to treat this aggressive form of the disease and ultimately save thousands of lives.

We’re Breast Cancer Now, the UK’s largest breast cancer charity – and we’re dedicated to funding research into this devastating disease. We believe that if we all act now, by 2050, no one will die from breast cancer. But we’ll only reach that point by working in a new, collaborative way. We’re bringing together all those affected by the disease to improve the way we prevent, detect, treat and stop the disease. So we can move from a time when people fear breast cancer to a generation where everybody lives.

(Breast Cancer Now is a company limited by guarantee in England (No. 9347608) and a charity registered in England and Wales (No. 1160558) and in Scotland (SC045584). Registered Office: Fifth Floor, Ibex House, 42-47 Minories, London EC3N 1DY.)