Breast Cancer Research


Why do we concentrate on preventative research?

Despite advances in treatment there are still 11,433 women dying of breast cancer in the UK every year. Yes we have some great treatments; but the answer to eliminating breast cancer will be through prevention rather than treatment.

Where is our research carried out?

The majority of our research is carried out at our home, The Nightingale Centre, the UK’s only breast cancer prevention centre.

How we are connected to other organisations

Many of our researchers also work at other labs such as at St Mary’s Hospital and King’s College, London.

Who is the research carried out by?

Our research is headed up by our Scientific Directors, Professor Gareth Evans and Professor Tony Howell and we have numerous researchers on board who look at many different areas behind the causes of breast cancer.

You can find out more about all these individuals by visiting


We are also part of the virtual network, The Manchester Breast Centre. The mission of The Manchester Breast Centre is to create a world-class centre for basic and translational breast cancer research, leading to effective detection and treatment of women at risk, and ultimately elimination of the disease.

What are our research aims?

Over the next 5 years, in collaboration with the Manchester Breast Centre, we will be focusing on the following areas:-

  • Gene Research
    1. To identify all the high risk and intermediate risk genes as yet undiscovered for women with a family history of breast cancer
    2. To prove in principle that risk assessment (breast density, SNPs, T-C Questionnaire) can be offered to women aged 47 to 50 as part of the first screening visit to the NHSBSP, by piloting this service within the Greater Manchester screening programme.


  • Early Detection and Screening
    1. To improve the accuracy of screening through new technology
    2. To improve the process of screening women with high breast density
    3. To develop a strategy for risk-adapted ‘smart screening’ following risk assessment at first screen: a strategy that is cost neutral to the NHS


  • Preventative Drugs
    1. To develop a reliable model for testing new and re-purposed existing drugs in the lab for the purpose of prevention
    2. To identify biomarkers of responsiveness to preventative drugs (such as breast density measurement or blood markers)
    3. To open at least one new clinical trial of a new or re-purposed drug
    4. To ensure that currently approved drugs for prevention are made available to the public by clear clinical pathways


  • Diet & LifestyleTo work out the mechanism through which energy restriction works in prevention
    1. To identify biomarkers of responsiveness to diet & lifestyle interventions
    2. To prove in principle that a lifestyle management programme can be offered to women as part of their first screening visit to the NHSBSP, by piloting this service within the Greater Manchester screening programme
    3. To develop effective diet & lifestyle programme for women in the Family History Clinic

You can read more about our Research Achievements to date, here.


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