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New breast cancer research unit at Guy’s Hospital

A new research unit at Guy's Hospital will focus on investigating a poorly-understood type of breast cancer which is more likely to affect young women and those of African origin.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer is spending around 4.2 million over five years to open this new breast cancer research unit which will concentrate on basal-like breast cancer.

The Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit at King's College London, due to open in 2008, is one of three being set up across England and Scotland. It will be based in Guy's Hospital, adjacent to King's College London Academic Breast Unit.

Basal-like breast cancer affects around 6,000 women each year and is more common in young women. It is also more likely to affect women of African origin, accounting for between 39 and 59 per cent of breast cancer compared with 16 per cent of breast cancers in Caucasian women.

The scientists at the new unit will examine the molecular changes that lead to basal-like breast cancer, aiming to develop potential new treatments and prevention strategies for women with basal-like breast cancer.

"I have been involved with Breakthrough Breast Cancer for many years and it is an honour to lead a team in developing one of the charity's new research units," says oncologist Dr Andrew Tutt, director of the new centre.

"Basal-like breast cancers are typically more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, more likely to spread to other parts of the body and can be difficult to treat. By establishing the Breakthrough Research Unit at King's College London we can expand our work in this important area over the next five years."

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