The link between breast cancer and type 2 diabetes is to be further investigated after a major grant was given to a Bradford researcher.
The charity Breast Cancer Now has awarded £90,000 to Dr James Boyne from the University of Bradford so he can lead the three-year project.
Scientists estimate that there is a 20% higher risk of developing breast cancer in people with type 2 diabetes, although researchers have been unable to determine exactly why both conditions are linked.
Breast cancer is currently the most common cancer in women and around 48,000 women are diagnosed every year. One theory behind the connection between breast cancer and type 2 diabetes is that components in the blood that cause clotting, called platelets, may be responsible.
Dr Boyne, a lecturer in molecular and cellular biology at the university, plans to look at how the fragments of platelets bind to breast cancer cells, in a bid to understand the connection between the conditions.
“We are hopeful that we will be able to identify new mechanisms that drive breast cancer progression in type two diabetics to ensure the best possible outcomes for these patients,” said Prof Boyne.
Dr Richard Berks, senior research communications officer at Breast Cancer Now, said: “Understanding the link between these two diseases may help doctors to predict whether a diabetic patient is likely to develop metastatic breast cancer, so that effective treatments can be put in place to reduce the risk of the disease spreading and becoming incurable.”
Dr Berks said the findings could lead to “the development of new, highly-specific therapies for those with secondary breast cancer”.
He added: “Our ambition is that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live. Dr Boyne’s project could help bring us one step closer to this goal.”

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