Breast Cancer Now - Research

Over the past 24 years, £34million has been granted to BCN to support life-saving research. Both charities are working together to ensure a brighter future for all those touched by breast cancer.

When Nina Barough raised funds from her first challenge, the New York Marathon in 1996, she donated the money she and her team raised to Breakthrough Breast Cancer – now Breast Cancer Now - for research. At this point she had no connection to breast cancer and she had never raised money for charity. Then fate intervened and Nina discovered that she had breast cancer, she went on to establish her grant making charity Walk the Walk.

Nina, with the support of the Walk the Walk Trustees, has always had an ability to recognise where research is most needed. Funds granted to Breast Cancer Now have included;

  • The Breast Cancer Now Tissue Bank - Walk the Walk is a founding partner -  the UK’s first ever national breast cancer tissue bank.
  • The Nina Barough Pathology Laboratory, a core facility at the Breast Cancer Now Research Centre, the first research centre in the UK dedicated entirely to breast cancer research. Closely linked to the prestigious cancer research hospital, the Royal Marsden, the Centre’s researchers are bringing their findings from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside.
  • The Generations Study - set up in 2004 to help understand the causes of breast cancer and is following more than 113,000 women in the UK for 40 years.
  • The LEGACY Study - allowing patients with secondary breast cancer to donate their secondary cancer tissues for research, shortly after their death.
  • Research into triple-negative breast cancer, led by Professor Andrew Tutt - this can be a highly aggressive form of the disease and has limited treatment options.  

The Walk the Walk Fellowship - The Latest Grant 2020

A grant in excess of £½ million for the Walk the Walk Fellowship has been made to help fund cutting-edge research into breast cancer that has spread to the brain.

Up to 30% of people whose breast cancer has metastasised to other parts of the body, will develop tumours in the brain. Metastatic breast cancer that has spread to the brain can have a severe effect on a person’s quality of life, and due to their location, these tumours are particularly hard to treat, with few treatment options available. Almost all deaths from breast cancer are due to the disease metastasising to other areas of the body, and these secondary cancers currently can only be treated, not cured.

The severe impact on quality of life makes it vitally important that we find new ways to both prevent and treat breast cancer in the brain.

Walk the Walk Fellow and Breast Cancer Now scientist Dr Damir Varešlija is looking at how gene switches in breast cancer cells might make them more likely to spread to the brain and hopes to find ways to prevent this happening.

Hear what Dr Damir Varešlija has to say!

Nina says;

Walk the Walk has been granting funds for essential research by Breast Cancer Now for many years, so to be funding our own Fellowship, researching something we feel is vitally important for the advancement of cancer treatments and knowledge, is an absolutely wonderful place to be. It feels particularly special to be doing this, at a time when cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment has been chronically impacted by COVID. Amidst such a catastrophic situation, there is a little bud of hope, as Dr Varešlija  is now working fully on this project.

The research Walk the Walk has funded previously has contributed to phenomenal leaps and bounds in terms of better understanding primary breast cancer, so that it can be treated more effectively if it is found early enough. Unfortunately, that is not the same for cancers that have metastasised. For the last few years, it has been a passion of mine to fund research in this area – to try and find choices for those with secondary cancers and to prevent it being the death sentence that it currently is.

My sincere hope is that that within the next five years our Fellowship with Dr Damir Varešlija , will give us a much better understanding of why breast cancer spreads to the brain and even better, a way of preventing and treating this condition. We can make a difference and that’s what we’re here to do."

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FInd out how you can help

There are a number of ways in which you can support Walk the Walk...