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Inaugural lecture

Professor Murray Brunt

From ABC to FAST Forward for the future: A journey in academic clinical breast oncology

14th June 2023

Denise Coates Building, University of Keele



Telephone: 01782 714 888

or at the NSMI Wade Conference Centre Reception

Murray will be exploring the development in breast cancer oncological management since he commenced as a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary in 1991. His personal academic journey via key breast cancer trials will be used to explain the enormous increase in available therapies and the consequent improvement in outcome. The last 30 years have been so exciting with discoveries coming ever faster, the phrase ‘the more you know, the more you realise that you do not know’, has never been truer.

The talk will aim to appeal to experts in the field, scientists and those without specific knowledge of breast cancer. There are different threads to the story. At the outset the hormone therapy tamoxifen had just been shown to have advantages, though we were naïve as to when and how to use it. Hormone therapy has evolved with different options, some understanding who might benefit and also drugs emerging looking to overcome resistance of cancers to treatment. At the same time the first trials were suggesting chemotherapy had a role in preventing breast cancer returning but it came with side effects that we were not good at controlling. We now have better chemotherapy, better ways of reducing side effects and can better identify those who may or may not benefit from chemotherapy.

Radiotherapy trials have been an increasing aspect of Murray’s academic career with the UK at the forefront of research with breast cancer. The change from paper and ink towards a much more refined individualised approach will be outlined. Murray continues to lead research in this field and more is planned.

There have also been novel treatments that have emerged from the laboratory, exciting ‘bench to bedside’ developments. The targeted therapy of herceptin is an example which hit the popular press, not least in The Potteries, and has changed many lives. It has been an exciting era to have been involved in the development of breast cancer therapy with great advantages to the increasing number of patients. You are welcome to attend the lecture.