A £1.1million programme aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer has been launched by the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.

The Personalised Breast Cancer Project, which has been hailed as ‘ground-breaking’ by director of the Cancer Research UK Major Cancer Centre, Richard Gilbertson, is funded by the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) and aims to identify the faulty genes in breast cancer cells by analysing tumours in 250 breast cancer patients. This will then help researchers understand more about how and why the cancer spreads and will help inform doctors of the most suitable treatment for their patients.

Currently, patients are treated based on broad types of cancer – such as those that tend to respond best to hormone therapies – but the researchers believe that this project will help improve the accuracy of diagnosis which, in turn, will ensure patients are given the best chance of surviving their disease.

It is hoped that the programme will be implemented in the NHS’s breast cancer unit in Cambridge and that one day patients across the UK will benefit from the improved and personalised treatment and diagnosis services it provides.

According to Breast Cancer Care, every year nearly 60,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK, the equivalent of one every 10 minutes.

Corrina Mottram, clinical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Breast cancer treatment has vastly improved over the past decade, but from our work with breast cancer patients across the UK who have suffered a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of the disease, it’s clear to see that improved methods of accurately detecting and treating the illness are needed.

“Although this programme will, we hope, in the future see all cancer patients benefit from improved detection and treatment of the disease, it could be years until it is rolled out across the UK.

“Until then we remain entirely focused on ensuring our clients receive the best support and rehabilitation from our expert solicitors and affiliated charities and cancer groups and will continue to urge the government to invest more funding into vital cancer services and medicine to help decrease the number of people suffering from this devastating disease.”