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13 October is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

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1 in 3 breast cancer patients will develop metastases. While there is no cure for metastatic breast cancer, some individuals are able to live longer than others with the disease, though we don’t know why. So metastatic breast cancer remains a tremendous challenge for doctors and patients alike. 13 October places emphasis on the disease, stressing the need for new, targeted treatments. The challenge is to prolong the life expectancy and quality of life of these patients, and - one day - to find a cure. Until now, very little progress has been made in this domain, something which BIG aims to change.

AURORA: using molecular screening to understand metastatic breast cancer

The AURORA research programme - also called the Metastatic Breast Cancer GPS - focuses exclusively on patients with metastatic breast cancer in order to better understand the disease. This is a vital first step to developing better treatments in the future.

AURORA will involve more than 1000 women and men from over 80 hospitals across Europe: currently, 51 hospitals in nine different countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, UK, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Spain & Iceland) are taking part in AURORA and are already recruiting patients. Five more countries will follow (The Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Portugal and Finland). See the list of activated sites . During the study, clinical data and biological samples (blood and tumour tissue) will be collected from all the participants. Expert laboratory scientists will analyse the genetic information in these samples by using the latest molecular screening techniques available.

"To better understand the disease is a vital first step to developing better treatments in the future"

Molecular screening uses technology that can characterise cancer on the genetic level in great detail. Our hope is that, by learning more about the evolution and characteristics of metastatic breast cancer, we will be able to block and treat the disease more effectively in the future. AURORA will advance our knowledge about the disease by helping us understand both why breast cancer spreads and why some patients respond poorly to standard treatment, while others respond very well.

AURORA is sponsored by BIG and led by BIG Headquarters, together with the BrEAST Data Centre at Institut Jules Bordet (Brussels, Belgium), and the Frontier Science Technology & Research Foundation (Scotland & US).