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New funding for Otago immunotherapy breast cancer research

Clocktower.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 11:24am

Anita Dunbier lab image
Dr Anita Dunbier

A University of Otago biochemistry researcher has been awarded nearly $200,000 to study the potential of immunotherapy to treat breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Cure (BCC), in partnership with the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) and The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (NZBCF), recently announced the latest recipients of funding through the Breast Cancer Research in New Zealand initiative for 2017.

Among those funded was Dr Anita Dunbier, of the University’s Department of Biochemistry who has gained $199,491 over a period of 24 months for her new project.

Treatments that stimulate the immune system to attack tumours, such as the drug keytruda, have revolutionised the treatment of certain types of cancer, however are yet to effectively treat breast cancer.

Dr Dunbier’s project will research the potential of immunotherapy as a treatment for breast cancer.

More than three quarters of women with breast cancer present with the hormone-sensitive form of the disease and are subsequently treated with anti-oestrogen therapy.

Dr Dunbier and colleagues have previously shown that treatment with anti-oestrogen therapies can stimulate an immune response directed against the tumour. This work will help assess whether they should be administered at the same time or separately.

For more information, contact:

Dr Anita Dunbier
Department of Biochemistry
University of Otago
Tel 03 479 9258
Email anita.dunbier@otago.ac.nz

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