Breast cancer cells separating Shutterstock

Dublin scientist awarded €250k grant for breast cancer research

Dr Alex von Kriegsheim based at UCD will investigate the role a small protein called ‘ISG15’ plays.

A DUBLIN SCIENTIST has been awarded a grant worth around £200,000 (€252,000) by research charity Breast Cancer Campaign to study what role a small protein plays in the early stages of breast cancer spread.

Little is known about how breast cancer cells start to spread. In some patients, breast cancer cells undergo a transition, enabling them to become more mobile and spread throughout the body.


Dr Alex von Kriegsheim, based at University College Dublin, previously found that forcing normal cells to overproduce a small protein called ‘ISG15’ causes these cells to undergo this transition and so behave more like cancer cells.

He currently studying in detail how this happens and whether breast cancer relies on the ISG15 protein to spread through the body.

This grant will allow Dr von Kriegsheim to create computer simulations to study how ISG15 is involved in the early stages of breast cancer spread.

The findings of the research could lead to drugs being developed that block ISG15’s activity and the proteins it works with.

Every year, 2,700 women in the Republic of Ireland are diagnosed with breast cancer, with 700 women dying each year.

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