Co-organized with the Rudbeck seminar series at Uppsala University
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, MA, US
Dr. Hynes did his undergraduate work in Biochemistry at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK, and his PhD in Biology at MIT with Paul Gross, biochemically separating cells from early sea urchin embryos and studying the complexity of their maternal mRNA sequences. He then returned to the UK as a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London. By investigating the molecular changes on cell surfaces that distinguish cancer cells from normal cells, he discovered fibronectin, a cell adhesion protein present on normal cells but noticeably absent on cancer cells. Dr. Hynes’ work over the past 40 years has played a major role in establishing the molecular basis of cell adhesion and its many diverse and important effects on cells both in vitro and in vivo. For a longer version of Dr. Hynes biography see the attached file to the right.
It is well established that mutations in oncogenes and tumour suppressors are key drivers of tumour initiation. However, these tumour-intrinsic changes are not sufficient to produce metastases, the cause of 90% of cancer deaths. The malignant properties of tumours – invasion and metastasis – depend on extrinsic influences from surrounding stroma, including a variety of normal cell types as well as the extracellular matrix (ECM). The extracellular matrix has been challenging to study because of its insolubility but, using modern methods of proteomics, it is now possible to characterize in detail the composition of tissue and tumour matrices and uncover changes occurring during tumour progression. These include many ECM proteins that play significant roles in metastasis. I will discuss recent data on the ECM of tumours as well as the pro-metastatic functions of platelets and leukocytes.
Host: Christer Betsholtz