Certain macrophages, a type of immune cell, are associated with metastasis, the process where tumor cells spread to distant organs and form secondary tumors, which causes 90% of cancer-related deaths. However, metastasis is a very complex process with several hidden steps, so it’s been tough for doctors and researchers to observe it in animal models and especially in human patients. To determine how macrophages influence metastasis, Dr. Boussommier is using a simplified “microfluidic” model to observe breast cancer metastasis in real time. This knowledge could then be used to identify and/or develop therapies for preventing and treating metastasis in patients to improve their survival.
CRI is one of the few funding agencies that enables foreign scientists like myself to obtain funding in the US. The enthusiasm the CRI displays was really astounding to me and contagious. I now truly believe that, while it will require a lot of work and collaboration, immunotherapy will be able to tame cancer.
Projects and Grants
Characterizing the role of macrophages in breast cancer cell extravasation and recolonization in organ-specific 3D microfluidic models
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | All Cancers, Breast Cancer | 2014 | Roger Dale Kamm, Ph.D.
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