Development of an innovative mouse model of RANKL-induced breast cancer and integration of cutting-edge technologies for the establishment of a preclinical platform for drug evaluation

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide and its market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 5.8% reaching 18.2 billion euro by 2023. Consequently, there is a very strong interest from pharmaceutical companies worldwide to develop new personalized and targeted treatments, making necessary the parallel development of relevant preclinical models that will allow the reliable assessment of the new therapeutic approaches. The BreastCaRANKL project aims to develop an innovative integrated platform for the preclinical evaluation of drugs targeting breast cancer and for the in-depth study of the molecular mechanisms contributing to the initiation and progression of the disease.

Recent studies have highlighted the key role played by the RANKL protein in the formation of lactating mammary glands during pregnancy, as well as in the initiation of breast cancer supporting progesterone-induced proliferation of mammary epithelial cells. RANKL is thus emerging as a highly promising therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of various breast cancer subtypes, including familial BRCA1-associated breast cancer. In the past, the research group of Dr Eleni Douni has generated unique transgenic mice expressing human RANKL (TgRANKL) which are unique tools for the study of RANKL-induced pathogenic mechanisms and for the preclinical evaluation of new drugs targeting RANKL and/or downstream molecules and biological processes. During the BreastCaRANKL project, BSRC “Al. Fleming” as Coordinator through Dr Douni and the Collaborating Organizations (National Technical University of Athens, and the companies BIOMEDCODE and BIOEMTECH)  integrating cutting-edge technologies on TgRANKL transgenic mice, collaborate in order to develop a) a human RANKL-dependent breast cancer model and b) a unique innovative humanized platform for the evaluation of anticancer drugs at the preclinical level.

This research is co‐financed by the European Union and Greek national funds through the Operational Program Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, under the call RESEARCH – CREATE – INNOVATE (project code:T1EDK-02829»

Co-financed by Greek national funds and the European Union

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