Defining the Prevalence and Function of the Serine Biosynthesis Pathway Across Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes


  1. To determine how molecular subtypes of breast cancer differentially use serine
  2. To define how this may be targeted therapeutically. 


Most cancers alter how they use or make nutrients to meet the needs of rapid cell growth. Some breast cancers, coincidentally the most difficult to treat, rely on making serine and converting it to other nutrients. Targeting a breast tumor’s ability to make serine may be a promising new approach to treat patients with these cancers. Although promising, a better understanding of the bioactivity of the nutrients serine gets converted to will be required to fully harness this achilles heel in treatment. Our ongoing studies use basic laboratory models of breast cancer to understand why some breast cancers rely on making serine. In this project, we will define how different types of breast cancer make or use serine and what it gets converted to in real patient samples. To do this, we will pair deep molecular profiles of each tumour with its propensity to make serine. By examining the biological of activity of the nutrients formed from serine in different molecular subsets of tumors, we will define new therapeutic targets for patients with these types of breast cancers.