Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women globally. In Malaysia, the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer is expected to double in the next decade.
Our Breast Cancer Research team here at CRM aims to:
  • Develop an effective screening approach for Asians
  • Develop affordable genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer
  • Explore breast cancer prevention in Asians
  • Explore immunotherapy as a new treatment option
  • Use the Patient Navigation Programme to remove barriers to existing cures
  • Use the Lemon Kit to improve awareness of breast cancer signs and symptoms

How we’ve made a difference

  1. Conducted research that showed 1 in 20 Malaysians develop breast cancer due to inheriting the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. This information is now incorporated into the clinical guidelines for Malaysian doctors, and plays an important role in the development of cancer genetic services in Malaysia.
  2. Contributed to the discovery of more than 100 genetic loci implicated in increased risk to breast cancer. Collaborating with researchers from all over the world, we studied thousands of breast cancer patients and healthy women.
  3. Proved that Malaysians are 3 times more likely to carry variants in the APOBEC3 gene, opening up the possibility that immunotherapy may be important for some breast cancer patients.
  4. Showed that post-menopausal Malaysians have lower mammographic density than the Swedes, suggesting that this measure may be accurately used to estimate an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer.

What we’re doing now

  1. Dr. Mamduh Zabidi and his team are collaborating with Professor Carlos Caldas, Dr. Chin Suet Feung and their team at the University of Cambridge to sift through genetic data from hundreds of Asian breast cancers. Studies in Caucasian women have already shown that molecular ‘signatures’ of cancers can help uncover better ways to diagnose and treat the disease, but such information is lacking in Asians. Our aim is to ensure advances in cancer treatment can also be applied accurately to Asian women.
  2. Professor Teo Soo Hwang and her team are collaborating with Professor Doug Easton and Dr. Antonis Antoniou at the University of Cambridge and investigators in Malaysian and Singaporean hospitals to work out genes that are an increased risk to breast cancer. These studies help work out which genes cause breast cancer that can be inherited in families, and how we can prevent the disease more effectively.
  3. Dr. Joanna Lim and her team are working on reducing the cost of genetic testing, whilst ensuring a gold standard quality. These studies seek to increase our ability to improve access to potentially lifesaving genetic information.
  4. Dr. Ho Weang Kee at the University of Nottingham is collaborating with CRM in improving our ability to inform people of their individual risk of breast cancer more accurately, making sure that they get the screening that is best for them.
  5. Maheswari Jaganathan, Dato’ Dr. Yusof, and their patient navigation team at Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah are developing practical solutions to ensure that patients in resource-poor settings are able to access lifesaving information and treatment, improving their survivorship.
  6. Nadia Rajaram and her team are studying if taking just one cup of soy a day can cut a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer.