The tumour microenvironment is a complex system of many cell types, including cancer cells, fibroblasts, endothelial cells, leukocytes and antigen-presenting cells. The microenvironment is integral in determining the functionality, physiology and spread (metastasis) of cancer. Therefore, it represents a viable target for cancer therapy and preventative strategies.
The Tumour Microenvironment Laboratory focuses on how specific processes between cancer cells and surrounding non-tumour stromal cells influence carcinogenesis and its metastasis to distant organs. In particular, our work aims to understand how low oxygen (hypoxic) environments and other stress conditions, changes the physiology between tumour cells and stromal cell lineages. Additionally, we aim to understand the role of hypoxia to generate receptive secondary metastatic sites (pre-metastatic niches).
The group combines in vitro experimental studies with animal models, as well as using clinical samples to determine the significance of targeting the tumour microenvironment to improve patient outcomes.