World Cancer Day 2014

February 4 is World Cancer Day 2014.

A new report from the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) shows that cancer is the biggest cause of mortality worldwide, with an estimated 8.2 million deaths in 2012. Cancer cases are forecast to rise by 75% over the next two decades.

View worldwide cancer trend statistics from the World Cancer Day report

In New Zealand, researchers are working to help prevent our women dying of breast cancer. The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation is actively involved in funding some of their research. Below are some of the projects we're actively involved in - we'll spend more than $800,000 on research in the next two years. We can't do it without your help, if you'd like to donate to support our research programme, please click here.

To read a news story about young researcher Hannah Palmer, and her ground-breaking NZBCF-funded study into the role of fatty tissue in causing breast cancer to spread, click here

Dr Rhonda Rosengren and her team at Otago University  are  targeting triple negative cancers – they hope to develop a low-cost nano-medicine that specifically targets triple negative tumour tissue. Early, exciting results show 60% tumour suppression (decrease in size) and excellent safety. This research could lead to clinical trials in women in two to three years’ time.

We're co-funding a study (with the Health Research Council) led by Professor Ann Richardson at Canterbury University into a viral cause of breast cancer. Previous research suggests that cytomegalovirus (CMV) plays a role in breast cancer. This new project is investigating the link further by studying differences in exposure to the virus between women who have breast cancer and those who do not. If the research supports a link between cytomegalovirus and breast cancer it could lead to development of a vaccine and the prevention of a significant proportion of breast cancer worldwide.

Dr Euphemia Leung at Auckland University  is investigating how everolimus, an existing drug, might work in combination with other new tumour inhibitors to block the abnormal signalling pathways that cause cells to turn cancerous. Her work is focused on triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), a particularly aggressive cancer that often affects younger women.

The NZBCF has also committed funds to establish a research fellowship at Auckland DHB. The appointed fellow will assess the effectiveness of past and current radiation oncology treatments using data from the breast cancer patient registers.

The Breast Cancer Patient Registers – the NZBCF funds the operation of registers that track more than 90% of the women diagnosed with breast cancer in the Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Christchurch regions. The data gives researchers and clinicians a greater understanding of the nature of breast cancer and its diagnosis, treatment and outcomes in New Zealand.

We will soon announce the recipients of a major grant, offered jointly with the Health Research Council and the Breast Cancer Research Trust