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Cell-To-Cell Communications in Cancer

Program Co-Leaders: Greg Longmore, MD, and Sheila Stewart, PhD

The long-term goal of the new Cell-to-Cell Communications in Cancer Program (C4P) is to unravel the complex cellular communication that occurs between tumor and non-tumor cells that is pivotal to cancer development, progression and metastasis and to work closely with clinicians across all Siteman Cancer Center programs to translate our basic findings to the patient. Membership includes individuals focused on understanding how stromal cells, including non-tumor epithelial cells, adipocytes, immune cells, vascular cells and fibroblasts, and extracellular matrix structural proteins, growth factors and cytokines interact with tumor cells to impact the tumorigenic process. The aims of the program are as follows:

  • To identify key communication molecules and pathways (i.e., targets) in tumor-stromal interactions that impact tumor and tumor stromal cell proliferation, survival, adhesion and motility and then to develop strategies to target these key molecules or pathways
  • To translate the basic science discoveries of C4P by fostering intra-programatic interactions with clinician-scientists within our program and by bridging inter-programatic interactions between our working groups and translational investigators across all SCC research programs

Each aim is focused on the central importance of communication in the cancer microenvironment. Each member has specific expertise and shared goals that have been and will continue to be utilized to develop a program with strong and fruitful intra-programmatic and inter-programmatic interactions. C4P has 39 members from ten departments and two schools.

C4P is organized around three broad areas that reflect the expertise of membership and hold the potential to translate basic findings to novel therapeutic modalities.

(1) Metastatic Bone Group
The metastasis group primarily focuses on unraveling the molecular mechanisms that impact the metastatic process including how stromal cells impact the pre-metastatic niche and the immune landscape at the metastatic site

(2) Lung Cancer Group
This group focuses on lung cancer development, progression, metastasis and treatment

(3) Brain Cancer Group
The group focuses on brain cancer development, progression and treatment