Scientific Programmes

Molecular Oncology Programme

Brain Metastasis Group

Group Leader:  Manuel Valiente

Brain metastasis is the most common neurological complication of cancer. When metastatic cells reach the brain, prognosis is poor given that available therapies (i.e. surgery and radiation) have limited benefits for patients and the disease inevitably progresses. The rise in the number of patients with brain metastasis is partially due to the increasing number of systemic therapies that work extracranially but not in the brain. In this scenario, cancer cells present at this highly demanding secondary site have additional time to evolve and develop into clinically detectable lesions. In the laboratory, we study why and how cells from different cancer types (breast cancer, lung cancer and melanoma) are able to access the brain, survive and colonise this vital organ. We dissect the biology of these processes in vivo using experimental models in order to challenge the current status of this unmet clinical need.