Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease, which includes many different types of cancers with diverse histopathologies, genetic and genomic variations, and clinical outcomes. Pathological states of the breast, such as pre-neoplastic lesions and carcinomas, retain aspects of cellular composition observed in the normal breast. It is not clear if the heterogeneity of breast cancer reflects the same hierarchical pattern of the normal tissue. In particular, the question remains as to whether specific molecular pathways establish the subtype of breast cancer or whether different cell types within the breast hierarchy become transformed and give rise to each tumour subtype. Currently, one of the major limitations in the field consists of a lack of experimental model systems that correctly recapitulate the pathogenesis of human breast tumours.
The main aim of this project is to study the cellular origin of breast cancer. In order to use a model which more closely recapitulates the human pathogenesis of breast cancer in a relatively short time frame as compared to traditional transgenic mice models, we will develop a novel system which will be used to address several important questions. The model will provide a powerful tool to dissect the contribution of oncogenes and targeted cells to the development of specific types of cancer. The system generated will also provide a relatively rapid breast cancer model which will allow us to study the contribution of selected factors, already described in the host laboratory to be important in mammary gland development and possibly tumourigenesis.
Call for proposal
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