Prof. Alice Sze Tsai WONG
"Understanding Phenotypic Heterogeneity in Metastasis: Towards Better Cancer Therapeutics"
Tumor metastasis represents a major clinical challenge, and understanding the underlying mechanisms is therefore obviously important. In all cancer types, intratumor heterogeneity, the coexistence of different subpopulations of cancer cells in a tumor, has a profound impact on tumor progression and therapeutic resistance. While genetic heterogeneity is well defined, little is known about the effect of phenotypic heterogeneity in driving the clinical progression of the tumor. We have successfully developed an isogenic ovarian cancer model with different metastatic properties to surpass limitations of current approaches on the lack of a tightly controlled, representative cell model and enable a robust framework to unravel key molecules mediating metastasis. I will present our recent work that reveals unprecedented mechanistic insights on the growth advantage, metabolic and immune cross-talks brought by tumor heterogeneity leading to metastatic success. These results have great translational implications in effective cancer treatment.
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