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Deciphering cancer: Understanding tumor invasion and the metastatic microenvironment

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Deciphering cancer: Understanding tumor invasion and the metastatic microenvironment

Recorded 19 September 2017


Tumor metastasis is a multistep process that includes stimulation of angiogenesis, intravasation of tumor cells into blood or lymphatic vessels, and subsequent engraftment and extravasation to peripheral tissues where secondary tumors are seeded. It is known that metastatic progression is driven by mutational and epigenetic changes in tumor cells, but more recent efforts have focused on the evolving interplay between the tumor cell and the tumor microenvironment (TME) during invasion and transition from micrometastasis to macrometastasis. Whether the tumor cell or the subverted vascular niche/premetastatic niche is the driver of TME evolution remains the subject of debate. This webinar examines the role of tumor-secreted factors, including exosomes and tumor vascular niche–derived protumorigenic factors in tumor–environment interactions, and their implications for development of therapeutic interventions to arrest metastasis.

During the webinar, the viewers will:

  • Hear about the importance of the TME for tumor progression and metastasis
  • Be introduced to the concept of the vascular niche/premetastatic niche and its role in metastasis
  • Learn how angiocrine-derived factors dictate tumor stemness
  • Be able to put their questions to the panel during the live broadcast!

This webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes

You can also view Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 5 of this series.

Speaker bios

David C. Lyden, M.D., Ph.D.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center/ Weill Cornell Medicine
New York, NY

Dr. Lyden completed his M.D. at Brown University, his residency in pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center, and a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. His early laboratory work resulted in several fundamental discoveries involving the role of bone marrow–derived stem and progenitor cells in tumor vasculogenesis and  metastasis. He and his colleagues made a pivotal discovery in the metastatic cascade, putting forward the concept of the “premetastatic niche.” Their findings revealed that tumor-secreted factors induce the formation of microenvironments in distant organs that are conducive to tumor-cell survival and outgrowth prior to the cells’ arrival at these sites. They also found that tumor-secreted microvesicles known as exosomes initiate premetastatic niche formation through key oncoproteins and nucleic acids that support thrombosis generation and vascular leakiness. These molecules may serve as valuable biomarkers for oncogenesis detection. His work has led to a new understanding of how primary tumor cells dictate their own metastases, by decoding how cancer-derived exosomes mediate intercellular communication. Most recently, Dr. Lyden has identified specific exosome subpopulations and discovered a new subset of particles known as exomeres, which collectively have distinct functional roles in the systemic effects of cancer.

Shahin Rafii, M.D.

Weill Cornell Medicine
New York, NY

Dr. Rafii received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and his medical training from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He carried out additional postdoctoral work at nearby Weill Cornell Medical College, also in New York, where he currently holds professorships in reproductive medicine, medicine, and genetic medicine. His work is focused primarily on identifying the molecular and cellular pathways involved in organ regeneration and tumor growth. Dr. Rafii’s laboratory uses in vivo mouse models and tissue-culture approaches to model the mechanisms by which dysregulation of the tumor vascular niche drives metastasis. Findings from his laboratory set forth the novel proposition that signals driving tumorigenesis are not cancer-cell autonomous. In fact, tumor endothelial cells establish a malignant vascular niche that supplies protumorigenic growth factors known as angiocrine factors, thus dictating cancer cell stemness and progression as well as metastasis. His group has shown that tumor endothelial cells aberrantly produce angiocrine factors that stimulate Notch and Wnt signaling in tumor cells. These studies explain why targeting oncogenes alone has been ineffective in regressing tumor growth, and why normalization of tumor vascular-niche function is essential to block tumor growth and metastasis.

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently Dr. Sanders is the Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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