Neutrophils are immune cells found in the blood that are recruited to inflamed tissues, including tumors, through a process called chemotaxis. However, it’s unknown how tumor-secreted molecules promote chemotaxis, so Dr. Powell is characterizing how it works in the context of the brain cancer glioblastoma. To do that, she has developed a genetically engineered zebrafish model to analyze how changes to neutrophil-associated proteins influence their recruitment to glioblastomas and observe migration in real time in both normal tissue and tumors. She will also examine the roles that various molecules and pathways play in that process, and how neutrophils influence the activity of the brain cells after arrival. By clarifying the impact of neutrophils in glioblastoma, strategies can be designed to address these considerations and improve outcomes in human patients.
It’s an exciting time to be a cancer biologist. We are just beginning to understand the contribution of inflammation to the tumor microenvironment and the mechanisms that regulate it. This field of research has great potential to improve cancer therapies for patients now and in the future.
Projects and Grants
The role of neutrophils and CXCL8-CXCR1/2 signaling in glioblastoma cell invasion
University of Wisconsin-Madison | Brain Cancer | 2015 | Anna Huttenlocher, M.D.
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