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NIHR | Manchester Biomedical Research Centre
Our Research: Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

Developing new imaging and molecular biomarkers

How can we optimise the effectiveness of preventive medications to improve cancer outcomes for patients?

Only a limited number of cancer preventive medications are proven and approved for use in the UK. Three of these (tamoxifen, raloxifene and anastrozole) reduce the risk of hormone receptor positive breast cancer but not everyone benefits, and working out who will is not currently possible.

Lifestyle interventions have the potential to reduce the risk of several types of cancer, however, there is currently a lack of information to guide which individuals are most likely to benefit from a particular preventive approach.

Through our research we are:

  • Using existing risk prediction models to define individuals at increased risk of breast and endometrial cancers.
  • Identifying who responds best to existing preventive medications and lifestyle approaches using serial imaging and biopsy protocols.
  • Discovering new preventive drugs and strategies through detailed analysis of the mechanisms of resistance to existing approaches.

Supporting the rapid translation of this research into clinical practice through our Rapid Translational Incubator.

Progress to date

Future work

  • Developing blood biomarkers that can predict who is more likely to benefit from breast cancer preventive medication.
  • Repurposing the osteoporosis drug denosumab in women at increased risk of breast cancer due to BRCA1 mutation.
  • To take anti-progestin prevention to the next phase of clinical trials nationally.
  • Exploring molecular mechanisms of breast regulation to define prevention strategies.