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Understanding cancer development in BRCA 1/2 mutation carriers for improved Early detection and Risk Control

Objective

Recent evidence demonstrates that cancer is overtaking cardiovascular disease as the number one cause of mortality in Europe. This is largely due to the lack of preventative measures for common (e.g. breast) or highly fatal (e.g. ovarian) human cancers. Most cancers are multifactorial in origin. The core hypothesis of this research programme is that the extremely high risk of BRCA1/2 germline mutation carriers to develop breast and ovarian cancer is a net consequence of cell-autonomous (direct effect of BRCA mutation in cells at risk) and cell non-autonomous (produced in distant organs and affecting organs at risk) factors which both trigger epigenetic, cancer-initiating effects.
The project’s aims are centered around the principles of systems medicine and built on a large cohort of BRCA mutation carriers and controls who will be offered newly established cancer screening programmes. We will uncover how ‘cell non-autonomous’ factors work, provide detail on the epigenetic changes in at-risk tissues and investigate whether these changes are mechanistically linked to cancer, study whether we can neutralise this process and measure success in the organs at risk, and ideally in easy to access samples such as blood, buccal and cervical cells.
In my Department for Women’s Cancer we have assembled a powerful interdisciplinary team including computational biologists, functionalists, immunologists and clinician scientists linked to leading patient advocacy groups which is extremely well placed to lead this pioneering project to develop the fundamental understanding of cancer development in women with BRCA mutations. To reset the epigenome, re-establishing normal cell identity and consequently reducing cancer risk without the need for surgery and being able to monitor the efficacy using multicellular epigenetic outcome predictors will be a major scientific and medical breakthrough and possibly applicable to other chronic diseases.

Host institution

UNIVERSITAET INNSBRUCK
Net EU contribution
€ 1 115 793,00
Address
Innrain 52
6020 Innsbruck
Austria

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Region
Westösterreich Tirol Innsbruck
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 1 115 793,00

Beneficiaries (5)

UNIVERSITAET INNSBRUCK
Austria
Net EU contribution
€ 1 115 793,00
Address
Innrain 52
6020 Innsbruck

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Region
Westösterreich Tirol Innsbruck
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 1 115 793,00
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON HOSPITALSNHS FOUNDATION TRUST
United Kingdom
Net EU contribution
€ 233 251,25
Address
Euston Road 250
NW1 2PG London

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Region
London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 233 251,25
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
United Kingdom
Net EU contribution
€ 856 796,75
Address
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London

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Region
London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 856 796,75
KAROLINSKA INSTITUTET
Sweden
Net EU contribution
€ 212 000,00
Address
Nobels Vag 5
17177 Stockholm

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Region
Östra Sverige Stockholm Stockholms län
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 212 000,00
VSEOBECNA FAKULTNI NEMOCNICE V PRAZE
Czechia
Net EU contribution
€ 80 000,00
Address
U Nemocnice 2
12808 Praha 2

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Region
Praha Hlavní město Praha
Activity type
Public bodies (excluding Research Organisations and Secondary or Higher Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 80 000,00