Professor Stewart Martin in the research laboratory at The University of Nottingham

Stop breast cancer spreading 


You can help us find new ways to stop breast cancer from spreading

Breast cancer kills - particularly when it spreads outside the breast and grows around the body – a process called metastasis. Dr Stewart Martin and colleagues - crowned Breast Cancer Campaign Research Team of the Year in 2013 - are investigating how to stop this process in its tracks.  

Along with world-renowned researcher Professor Ian Ellis, Dr Martin and team discovered that breast cancer cells use the lymphatic system to travel and spread. They have pinpointed particular proteins, called Calpains, which are linked to this process and discovered that these proteins also effect how the cancer cells respond to treatment.

Thanks to gifts to Nottingham Life Cycle 6, the team are focusing on inhibiting the calpain proteins, exploring how they effect the cancer cells ability to migrate and how they influence treatment responses. With your continued support, we can accelerate this research, giving hope to thousands of women worldwide. 

Professor Stewart Martin and his team in the laboratory

Novel drugs developed here in Nottingham 

Dr Martin has shown that screening for key proteins can help identify patients at high risk of metastasis and also indicate a woman’s likeliness to respond to conventional therapies. This information can guide which therapy should be offered to patients, with the aim of making sure every woman has the most effective treatment for their cancer type.    

The team are now working with colleagues from the School of Chemistry and testing new drugs, developed here in Nottingham, that specifically target the proteins to make cells more responsive to treatment - offering hope to all those with breast cancers that are currently resistant to conventional therapies.  

They are also continuing the hunt for additional proteins that regulate the process of metastasis. Professor Ellis and colleague Emad Rakha, are conducting large-scale analyses working in collaboration with other national and international groups.  

More breast cancer research