Tumor Cell Growth and Migration

Cancers of the pancreas and liver are listed as the third and fourth most lethal cancers in the United States and are increasing rapidly, according to the National Cancer Institute. The five-year survival rate for people with these tumors is exceptionally poor due to a lack of effective therapies that target the cells of these cancers, which tend to migrate away from the site of the primary tumor to invade distal organs. This metastatic behavior of tumor cells is the single most important factor affecting survival and is regulated by hundreds of different cytoskeletal-membrane proteins.

The Cytoskeletal Membrane Dynamics Lab's research team seeks to understand how these tumor cells:

  • Dissociate from the primary tumor
  • Support collective and independent migration along a substrate
  • Remodel the surrounding tumor stroma by protease secretion to escape into adjacent blood vessels

Dr. McNiven's research is focused in two areas:

Review published research articles from the Cytoskeletal Membrane Dynamics Lab related to tumor cell growth and migration on PubMed.