Blocking the spread of breast cancer using a protein-based therapy

Lead researcher

Dr Yuan Cao

The University of Melbourne

Tumour type:

Years funded

Project description

This project investigates the role of two proteins in preventing breast cancer spreading to other tissues. The results may lead to a treatment that reduces breast cancer progression. 

What is the need? 

The spread of breast cancer causes most breast cancer deaths. The immune system tries to control cancer spread, but is overcome by the tumour cells. I have shown that a protein called BMP4 prevents the spread of cancer by activating anti-tumour immune responses. I propose here that BMP4 causes a blood protein called PF4 to increase, leading to an enhanced anti-tumour response. In this project, I will determine how BMP4 and PF4 act on the immune to control metastatic disease.

What impact will this research have?

My motication to undertake breast cancer research is derived from the fact that a high incidence of breast cancer has caused misfortune and distress to my friends, relatives and their families. Knowing that controlling breast cancer will improve the welfare of people and the health of our society, I have dedicated myself to cancer research since I completed my PhD.


Project timeline


      Investigate the mechanisms of action of PF4  

Determine if PF4 can inhibit the spontaneous metastasis of breast cancer


"The results may lead to a treatment that reduces breast cancer progression."