Cancer Invasion and Metastasis

Cell illustration

The Cancer Invasion and Metastasis Program focuses on the processes that drive the majority of cancer deaths. Investigators are studying the full gamut of the unique and little understood biology of how cancer cells escape the tumor microenvironment and invade the vasculature and surrounding tissue to seed new tumors in other parts of the body. Researchers are studying all aspects of metastasis, from the initiating events that cause cancer cells to spread from the primary tumor to clinical strategies to better treat these advanced cancers. They are deciphering the specific molecular and cellular mechanisms cancer cells use to spread from the primary tumor to travel throughout the body. Uncovering and then developing ways to target and block the molecular equipment cancer cells use to spread through the body will initiate much-needed new clinical studies. A critical area of discovery is understanding how cancer cells overcome hostile environments beyond the primary tumor to escape and colonize in distant organs. Identifying the features that make some metastatic cancers resist treatment while others are responsive will help inform clinical advances. Collaborations extend beyond the Cancer Invasion and Metastasis Program to all other Kimmel Cancer Center research programs and cancer type-specific disease groups as well as diverse Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Departments and Schools, such as the Bloomberg School of Public Health and Whiting School of Engineering.

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