Westminster’s Breast Cancer Research Unit contributes to major study on genetics of breast cancer

Biomedical Sciences 25 October 2017

Miriam Dwek and Nadege Presneau

The University of Westminster’s Breast Cancer Research Unit has contributed to a major study on the genetics of breast cancer providing clues to the mechanisms behind the disease. 

The DietCompLyf study led by Dr Miriam Dwek joined a study led by the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) which published two sets of research outcomes on Monday 23 October in the highly regarded academic journals Nature and Nature Genetics.  

The papers identified seventy-two new genetic variants contributing to the risk of developing breast cancer. The researchers believe these variants may provide sufficient evidence to change practice, for example enabling an understanding of how women at different risk levels should be screened differently. 

The findings are the result of work by the OncoArray Consortium, a huge endeavour involving 550 researchers from around 300 different institutions in six continents. In total, they analysed genetic data from 275,000 women, of whom 146,000 had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The two sets of outcomes published by BCAC in Nature and Nature Genetics were contributed to by Westminster’s Cancer Research Group which undertakes pioneering research into the detection, treatment and prevention of solid and blood borne cancers.

Dr Miriam Dwek, Leader of the Cancer Research Group at the University of Westminster, said about the published research: “This latest work show the importance of collaborative research for the identification of cancer-associated gene changes. The work would not have been possible without the contribution of the tens of thousands of DNA samples from the hundreds of centres across the globe. We are delighted to be member of the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.”

Find out more about the Cancer Research Group at the University of Westminster.

Find out more about the Biomedical Sciences courses offered at the University of Westminster.

The DietCompLyf study was funded by the Against Breast Cancer (Registered Charity number 1121258).

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