Institute of Genetics and Cancer

Shining a Light on Breast Cancer

People living with genetic disorders and cancers are at the heart of our research at the Institute of Genetics and Cancer, the University of Edinburgh.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and globally. One woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 10 minutes in the UK and more than 1.1 million women are diagnosed worldwide every year. Around 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK. In Scotland, every year around 4,700 people are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Join us for this onsite event, within the Institute of Genetics and Cancer, to find out about our research on Breast Cancer and to hear from someone with experience of breast cancer, sharing their insights.


17:00: Welcome & Housekeeping: Dee Davison, IGC Public Engagement Manager

17:10: Introduction to Breast Cancer Research at the Institute of Genetics and Cancer, University of Edinburgh: Dr Olga Oikonomidou, Principal Investigator and Breast Cancer Translational Research Group Leader, Academic Consultant Medical Oncologist

17:25: Breast Cancer Research Update: Dr Fiona Semple, Senior Post Doctoral Fellow, Oikonomidou Research Group

17:40: Susie Melville: Breast Cancer - Reflections on onset of symptoms, diagnosis, treatments & hopes for the future

18:00: Q&A

18:10: Refreshments & Nibbles Reception

18:30: Event ends

Olga’s research group focuses on three areas:

  1. Predicting biomarkers of response to pre-operative (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy setting. Comprehensive molecular profiling of clinical samples, both diagnostic and on treatment, may reveal alterations that are associated with drug resistance, metastatic recurrence, and disease progression. This will allow us to better characterise those cancers that receive insufficient benefit from current therapies and to predict which alternate therapies and drug combination strategies may cure those patients that do not respond to current therapies.
  2. Understanding the biology of Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), a highly aggressive type of breast cancer, and the molecular changes that occur in response to treatments, which result in greatly differing patient responses and prognosis. TNBC is characterised by extensive within-the-tumour heterogeneity that drive the pathogenesis, treatment resistance and metastasis but exactly how these genetic alterations emerge is not fully understood.
  3. Liquid biopsy - analysis of circulating DNA, may allow the detection of tumour-related genetic alterations that are relevant to cancer development and progression. Our group is developing non-invasive analyses of breast cancer to identify potential therapeutic targets in cancer and identify early a patient’s response to treatment. Part of this project is identifying biomarkers of response to CDK4/6 inhibitors. These drugs are considered as the biggest development in the field of advanced hormone sensitive advanced breast cancer.

For people diagnosed with breast cancer, timely access to drugs and other treatments is vital. Every patient should have access to any treatment, including clinical trials. Research on breast cancer is vital to save lives and to develop effective, new and personalised treatments, so that people with breast cancer live longer and have a better quality of life.

For more information and reserving a spot:

Shining a Light on Breast Cancer Tickets, Wed 29 Mar 2023 at 17:00 | Eventbrite

Mar 29 2023 -

Shining a Light on Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer: Find out about our breast cancer research and hear from women with experience of breast cancer: Wed 29 March 2023

Institute of Genetics and Cancer
The University of Edinburgh
Western General Hospital
Crewe Road
Venure: IGC Lecture Theatre and Nucleus Cafe