Award helps advance research into common women’s cancer

17/Jun/2022     Mater GroupResearch

Breast cancer research has been given a major boost, with the announcement of Mater Research’s 2022 Strategic Grant for Outstanding Women.

The Award has been presented to Mater Research Career Track Fellow Dr Jodi Saunus to progress her translational research on metastatic breast cancer.

Jodi will use the $90,000 award over two years to identify novel molecular biomarkers in breast cancer tumours to improve decisions regarding the use of chemotherapy to treat breast cancer, and potentially inform decisions to achieve precision combination therapies that will improve treatment outcomes.

Her study will use pre- and post-treatment samples, and highly advanced biological computational models, to improve our understanding of why some breast cancers are resistant to chemotherapy treatments.

It is hoped the findings will assist pathologists and oncologists to develop more targeted treatment plans for each patient.

Over the last six years the Mater Research Strategic Grant for Outstanding Women has been used by leading women Mater Researchers to investigate a range of health challenges, from Indigenous public health through to breast cancer.

The grant is designed to help recipients overcome the gender-based challenges that women researchers encounter in developing a long-term research career in the highly competitive global medical research industry.

A recent recruit to Mater Research, Dr Saunus has a strong record of innovation in cancer treatment and is interested in finding treatments for triple-negative breast cancer that do not contain the normal hormonal receptors found in most breast cancers.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare it is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in Australian women.
In 2019, 1,480 women aged 50–74 died from breast cancer, equivalent to 43 deaths per 100,000 women.

Jodi is also interested in the development of innovative cancer drugs; pathology informatics which combines mathematical modelling with modern pathology techniques; and the mechanisms driving brain metastases.


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