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Research Zernike (ZIAM) News Seminars

Seminar: Prof.Melinda J. Duer "Developing a new paradigm in cancer treatment: from fundamental studies of cancer matrix to new therapeutics'

When:Mo 31-10-2022 15:00 - 16:00
Where:5114.0004 , Nb4

The extracellular matrix (ECM) forms the bulk of our structural tissues and provides them with their particular mechanical properties. At the microscopic level, it provides the scaffold which supports cells but more intriguingly, at the molecular level, it provides the communication system between the cells in the tissue and the signals that drives the individual behaviour of cells. In cancer, the tumour develops a stromal matrix that is typically quite different to that of the host tissue and the host tissue matrix is massively disrupted. These two features help to drive tumour progression by providing aberrant signalling and fertile ground for cancer cell invasion, for instance. Ultimately, if we can understand how the extracellular matrix molecular structure and dynamics dictates the behaviour of cells, then we can develop ways to combat this matrix-driven tumour progression, for instance, by doing chemistry in the extracellular matrix to drive the necessary change in cell behaviour. However, understanding the molecular level properties of the extracellular matrix has been hampered by the lack of methods to study tissues at the atomic scale. In this talk, I will describe the interdisciplinary approaches my group has taken over the last decade to tackle these complex questions, and how they are beginning to lead to new cancer therapeutics.