A BRADFORD scientist has been awarded £90,000 to investigate links between diabetes and breast cancer.

Research charity Breast Cancer Now has given the funding to Dr James Boyne at the University of Bradford to carry out the cutting-edge study.

He will now lead a three-year project to investigate why breast cancer is more likely to spread in people with Type Two diabetes, than in those without the disease.

Although research has already found that people with that diabetes type are around 20 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer and the condition has also been linked with increased risks of the disease spreading around the body - the underlying mechanisms connecting the two have continued to elude scientists.

Dr Boyne will now use the charity’s funding to find out how platelet clotting agents in the blood of Type Two diabetic patients stick to breast cancer cells, making them more aggressive.

Dr Boyne and his team hope they will be able to reveal if there is a special make-up of message-sending molecules in the platelets that trigger breast cancer cells to grow and spread.

To help with the research Dr Boyne will be using blood and breast cancer tissue samples from the Breast Cancer Now Tissue Bank to check for differences between diabetic and non-diabetic patients and to identify anything that puts Type Two diabetics at a higher risk of developing secondary breast cancer.

Dr Boyne, a lecturer in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Bradford, said the new funding had brought together expertise from across West Yorkshire to investigate why breast cancer is more likely to spread in women with type two diabetes.

“The project is very much a multidisciplinary collaboration of leaders in the fields of platelet biology, breast cancer and diabetes. We are hopeful that working together we will be able to identify new mechanisms that drive breast cancer progression in type two diabetics to ensure the best possible outcomes for these patients,” he said.

Senior Research Communications Officer at Breast Cancer Now, Dr Richard Berks, said: “Dr Boyne’s vital research will help us understand why breast cancer is more likely to spread in women with type two diabetes. Understanding the link between these two diseases may help doctors to predict whether a diabetic patient is likely to develop metastatic breast cancer, so that effective treatments can be put in place to reduce the risk of the disease spreading and becoming incurable.”

“Our ambition is that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live. Dr Boyne’s project could help bring us one step closer to this goal,” added Dr Berks.