Perkins Seminar: Dr Thomas Cox

Event Date and Time:
Thursday 5th September, 2019 @ 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Venue:
McCusker Auditorium, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Nedlands

Thomas currently leads the Matrix and Metastasis Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. His group focuses on how the extracellular matrix (ECM) regulates resident cell behaviour and specifically how it contributes to cancer progression, metastasis and response to therapy.

Recent work has focussed on how discrete subtypes of cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) within tumours underpin ECM remodelling programs that generate proinvasive and pro-metastatic environments (Nature Communications 2019); the development of new techniques to image the ECM (Nature Medicine 2017); and the systemic role of ECM remodelling in pre-metastatic niche formation (Nature 2015). The aim of Thomas’ group is to establish targeting of ECM dynamics as a viable therapeutic approach in the treatment of solid cancers.

Abstract:
The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a master regulator of cellular phenotype and behaviour. It plays a critical role in both normal tissue homeostasis and pathological disease progression. Both the biochemical and biomechanical properties of the ECM contribute to modulating the behaviour of resident cells and are more than just passive bystanders. In tissue diseases such as cancer, the ECM undergoes significant change.

These changes, driven by resident tumour cells, feed into the pathological progression of the disease. As such, changes in the ECM mark significant transition events in disease progression. Understanding how the changing ECM facilitates tumour progression and metastasis is an important step in the development of new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer.

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