We now know that the growth and spread of cancer involves not just the tumor cells themselves, but other host cells in the tumor microenvironment—the cellular neighborhood around cancer. For example, angiogenesis (blood vessel growth) requires the tumor to recruit surrounding blood vessel-building cells to enlarge its blood supply. This mechanism provides oxygen and nutrients to tumors so they can grow and allows cancer cells to escape their primary site and metastasize. Inflammatory and immune cells also play important roles by generating a permissive environment for tumor growth and metastasis. Sanford-Burnham researchers want to understand the molecular basis of cell-to-cell interaction, cell adhesion and cell migration. We want to know how these processes are controlled in normal physiology, how this control is subverted in cancer and how to restore normal control with new medicines.
Progress in Tumor Microenvironment
The Discovery of Cell Adhesion Molecules (Ruoslahti laboratory)
Vascular Zip Codes (Ruoslahti laboratory)
Fighting Metastasis (Courtneidge laboratory)
Cell Surface Carbohydrates as Tumor Supressor (Fukuda laboratory)
A Culprit in Metastasis (Strongin laboratory)