Shyamala Maheswaran, Ph.D.
Surgical Oncology, Mass General Research Institute
Professor of Surgery
Harvard Medical School
|PhD Boston University 1991|
Metastasis, the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, is governed by multiple steps, which are not well understood. Using cell culture and mouse models, as well as patient-derived tumor tissues, and tumor cells circulating in the blood (Circulating Tumor Cells/CTCs), the Maheswaran Lab has uncovered novel tumor cell characteristics that promote metastasis in breast cancer patients.
Their findings show that cancer cells exist in multiple cellular states, each state exhibiting different characteristics. As such, each breast cancer patient harbors a mixture of tumor cells with different functional properties.
We intend to define the functional and molecular properties of these different subclasses of tumor cells and their contribution to metastasis, tumor evolution and drug sensitivity using appropriate experimental models and patient-derived samples.
These findings will provide insight into the contribution of these different cancer cell populations to metastasis and their significance as biomarkers and therapeutic targets.