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New research finds breast cancer trigger -

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ELEANOR HALL: One of Australia's largest medical research institutions says it has found a way to
"switch off" one of the key triggers for a common form of breast cancer.

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney has been studying a molecule known as Gab2.

Professor Roger Daly leads the team and he spoke to Brendan Trembath about how it felt to make the
discovery.

ROGER DALY: Relieved in some ways because it was a long journey to identify this mechanism, so it
was incredibly satisfying for myself and also for the scientists, the post auctorial (phonetic)
Tilman Brummer who did a lot of the bench work involved so we kind of worked as a team on this over
the last three or four years.

And so it was kind of, it was very satisfying and I guess it was one of those eureka moments when
you kind of suddenly realise how this molecule, very important molecule, is switched off.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Professor Roger Daly, just what have you discovered?

ROGER DALY: Ok, so we have been working on a molecule called Gab2 which is involved in the
development of breast cancer and also certain forms of leukaemia.

We've identified that the action of this molecule is switched off in the cell by binding of another
protein which acts as a shield and we think that this may well provide a novel therapeutic strategy
for treating breast cancer and also these leukaemias in which Gab2 is involved.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Which women with breast cancer might this benefit?

ROGER DALY: There is a subset of breast cancer patients who have high levels of this protein called
Gab2, so not all women have high levels of this protein, only a subset.

And so we anticipate that for women with high levels of Gab2, this might present a novel way of
treating these women.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: But how soon before you might be able to actually use it?

ROGER DALY: I think it is important to emphasise this is early stage research. At the moment we
have identified that this shield operates to switch off Gab2 signalling.

What we have to do now is to determine the molecular structure of this complex and then based on
that, develop drugs which mimic the action of this shield, so we're really looking at something
probably in a five to 10 year timeframe.

But I think what we are particularly excited about is the novel aspects of this mechanism and also
that it provides a way of blocking both the growth of the cells and also the spread of the cells
throughout the body.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Given that this may be used to create drugs to help treat breast cancer, who owns
the intellectual property at this stage?

ROGER DALY: This is not actually protected at the moment, but I think once we identify the
molecular structure of this complex then we will be protecting the intellectual property and it'll
be the Garvan Institute that owns that intellectual property.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Professor Roger Daly from the Garvan Institute in Sydney with Brendan
Trembath.