Tumour Microenvironment

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.

CURRENT RESEARCH

  • how cancer-derived factors initiate and maintain the pre-metastatic niche at distant sites
  • tumour-derived factors, which initiate the pre-metastatic niche, be predictive or diagnostic markers in breast or lung cancer
  • the role of Siah ubiquitin ligases (hypoxia-induced signalling mediators) in endothelial cell function and blood vessel formation (neo-angiogenesis)

Staff

  • Edna Chai, Research Assistant
  • Sunyoung Ham, Research Assistant
  • Luize Goncalves Lima, Research Officer
  • Kekoolani Visan, Student
  • Huiping Liu, Student

Internal Collaborators

External Collaborators

  • Professor David Bowtell, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
  • Dr Belinda Parker, La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science
  • Dr Sarah Everitt, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
  • Dr Antoine Leimgruber, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
  • National Breast Cancer Foundation
  • Cancer Council Queensland
  • The Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer
  • Australian Cancer Research Foundation