Molecular Mechanisms of Tumor Metastasis and Therapy Resistance
Several factors contribute to the poor outcome of cancer patients, but the ability of cancer cells to leave the primary tumor and establish inoperable metastases is a major impediment to successful therapy. Although most cancer patients die of complications resulting from the effects of metastases, the basic molecular and cellular mechanisms that endow a tumor cell with the ability to leave the primary tumor, survive during transit through the blood, and establish and maintain a new tumor in a secondary organ remain incompletely understood.
Using advanced patient-derived murine tumor models of Pancreatic Cancer that closely resemble the human disease and combining those with powerful quantitative genetic tools we are scrutinizing the molecular mechanisms that allow cancer cells to metastasize and how this process can be inhibited. Given the cancer’s high intrinsic resistance to established and newly developed targeted therapies we furthermore use these models to study the underlying mechanisms of resistance and how they can be overcome, getting one step closer to personalized, efficient cancer therapy.