Abstract: Series 104, Lecture 1

The Harvey Lectures Series 104 (2008—2009)

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Lecture #1: Thursday, October 16, 2008 — Time and Location

Deconstructing Metastasis

Joan Massagué, PhD

Joan Massagué, PhD

Alfred P Sloan Chair
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Chairman, Cancer Biology and Genetics Program

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

New York, New York

Dr Massagué's Website

The development and maintenance of multicellular organisms requires tight control over the proliferation, differentiation, movement, organization and death of their constituent cells. The TGFß signaling system is a vital regulator of these processes but also a common venue for cancerous malfunctions. TGFß exerts tumor suppressive effects, which cancer cells must elude for malignant evolution. But it also has effects on cell invasion, immune regulation, and tissue microenvironments, which cancer cells may exploit to their advantage. This dark face forcefully emerged in recent studies to deconstruct the process of cancer metastasis. Metastasis proceeds through a series of steps whereby cancer cells disseminate to distant organs and eventually grow into lethal colonies. Metastasis is responsible for 90% of cancer deaths. The roles of TGFß and other key players in metastasis, their mechanistic basis and their clinical relevance are becoming increasingly clear, paving the way for a better understanding of their therapeutic potential.

Lecture Sponsor: Wyeth Research

Wyeth Research