Cancer cells are surrounded by immune cells, blood vessels, chemical signals and a support matrix – collectively, the tumor microenvironment. Most microenvironments help tumors grow and metastasize, but some can restrict tumors. Our lab studies how to target the bad microenvironments and support the good ones to combat cancer.
Keywords: Tumor microenvironment; intravital imaging; tumor-associated myeloid cells; breast cancer; pancreatic cancer
About the Lab
The Egeblad lab studies the contributions of the tumor microenvironment – in which cancer cells arise and live – to therapy responses and metastasis.
Solid tumors are abnormally organized tissues that contain not only cancer cells, but also various stromal cell types and extracellular matrix, and these latter components constitute the microenvironment. Communications between the different components of the tumor influence its growth, its response to therapy, and its ability to metastasize.
The lab studies the importance of tumor-stroma communications using co-culture assays and mouse models of breast and pancreatic cancer. We use co-culture assays to interrogate signaling pathways involved in communications between cancer cells and specific types of stromal cells (e.g., macrophages, neutrophils and fibroblasts). We use microscopy of tumors in live mice to determine how interactions between cancer and stromal cells or activation of specific signaling pathways influence cellular survival, proliferation and migration. We use bioluminescence and small animal ultrasound to follow tumor progression and regression at the organism level.
Our main focus is on the functions of myeloid-derived immune cells, a diverse group of cells that can enhance angiogenesis and metastasis and suppress the response to chemotherapy and the cytotoxic immune responses against tumors. We study how different types of myeloid cells are recruited to tumors and how signals between them and the cancer cells, or other immune cells, influence response to chemotherapy and metastatic spread.
Our work in the news
- Scientists Unleash Teeny Tiny Little Soldiers in Fight Against Breast Cancer
Sputnik International, October 23 (2016)
- A Cure For Breast Cancer? How Nanoparticles Can Stop It From Spreading
International Business Times, October 22 (2016)
- Neutrophil ‘traps’ help tumor cells metastasize
BioWorld Today, October 21 (2016)
- This New Nanotechnology Could Become the Next Major Cancer Breakthrough
Fortune, October 20 (2016)
- Nixing NETs to Prevent Metastasis
The Scientist, October 19 (2016)
- Scientists Are Testing Out Nanoparticles that Can Stop Cancer in Its Tracks
Motherboard, October 19 (2016)
- CSHL Researcher Mikala Egeblad Wins $2.5 Million To Help Demystify Cancer
MyLITV, October 1 (2014)
- LI research wins grant to solve a cancer mystery
Newsday, June 14 (2014)
January 8-12, 2017: Big Sky, Montana January 26, 2017: Stony Brook, NY March 3, 2017: St. Louis, MO March 16, 2017: Albany, NY June 11-16, 2017: Stowe, VT June 25-28, 2017: Ascona, Switzerland
Keystone Symposia: “Cell Plasticity within the Tumor Microenvironment”
Pathology / Cancer Grand Rounds series
Washington University in St. Louis, Dept. of Cell Biology & Physiology
The RNA Institute at SUNY Albany: Annual RNA Symposium
Gordon Conference: “Mammary Gland Biology”
7th International Conference on Tumor Microenvironment and Angiogenesis
January 8-12, 2017: Big Sky, Montana
January 26, 2017: Stony Brook, NY
March 3, 2017: St. Louis, MO
March 16, 2017: Albany, NY
June 11-16, 2017: Stowe, VT
June 25-28, 2017: Ascona, Switzerland