Diagnostic/Prognostic Markers and Therapeutic Targets
Controlling growth factor receptor expression and secretion of soluble factors by cancer cells to inhibit cancer growth and metastasis
Metastasis is the main cause of death in patients with solid tumours. We are interested in finding out how cancer cells spread to other organs and continue to grow and spread from these organs. Our team are investigating how factors produced by cancer cells influence their own growth and the behaviour of neighbouring cells to promote the growth and spread of the cancer cells.
What we aim to achieve
This project aims to understand changes in the cancer cells that nurture their growth and ability to spread. This could lead to new ways to predict the likelihood of cancer spread and reveal new therapeutic targets against these support networks that could lead to new anti-cancer drugs.
Our next steps and milestones
Our next task is to explore how the novel mechanisms that we have discovered can be developed into new therapy. The lead molecule we are studying is a suppressor of metastasis and its loss leads to metastasis. We will identify pathways that it counteracts which are metastasis-promoting and find methods to suppress these metastasis-promoting pathways.
What motivates me
I am motivated by the new knowledge we can gain in understanding how normal cells work and identifying the spectrum of changes that make a cancer cell different from the normal cells. Making new discoveries brings a lot of satisfaction particularly when these discoveries could eventually lead to live-saving drugs or the alleviation of suffering.
My message to supporters
Drug discovery is a long arduous road that is expensive and requires ongoing financial support. Ongoing support is necessary for discovery of new drug targets for those cancers that still have limited treatment options. The generous support of donors to Cancer Council SA is so important for funding new untested ideas, not all of which will work, but nevertheless, it is new ideas that will eventually lead to new cancer treatments.