The conference, which will take place from 28 to 30 September, is part of the series of international scientific meetings known as 'CNIO Frontiers Meetings', which every year gather leading experts in the different areas of cancer research
Leading researchers on metastasis, including Joan Massagué and David Lyden, amongst others, will present and discuss the latest findings on this process that causes 90% of all cancer fatalities
Due to its complex nature, few groups worldwide have investigated metastasis in depth until recently. CNIO´s newly created Microenvironment and Metastasis and Brain Metastasis Groups will increase our knowledge about this process and improve its early detection and how to block it
One hundred thousand people die of cancer in Spain every year, and 90% of those cases are due to metastasis; the process by which a tumour invades healthy organs or tissue. It can only be detected once it has begun and there are no effective treatments to combat it; consequently, the chances that cancer patients with metastasis have of surviving are significantly reduced. However, in spite of its significance, research on the metastatic process − which could ultimately lead to a cure or chronicity of many types of cancer − is relatively recent due to its remarkable complexity.
Now, the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) is hosting an international conference titled “Metastasis initiation: mechanistic insights and therapeutic opportunities”, where, from 28 to 30 September, leading world experts on metastasis will discuss the current state of knowledge in this field. The conference, which will be attended by approximately 130 researchers from 18 countries, is part of the prestigious series of conferences known as the CNIO Frontiers Meetings. One of the promoters is Héctor Peinado, head of the CNIO’s Microenvironment and Metastasis Group, established this year together with the Brain Metastasis Group headed by Manuel Valiente. Also involved in the organisation of the event are David Lyden, from the Weill Cornell Medical College (USA) and Yibin Kang, from Princeton University (USA).
According to Peinado, “this event is one of a kind organised in Spain in recent years. We have invited world leading experts in the field of metastasis to discuss the mechanisms that trigger it, how to design new strategies for early diagnosis and how to identify new therapeutic targets that will enable us to learn more about it and block its progression. We have to promote research and advances in the knowledge of the metastatic process, which is currently responsible for most cancer-related deaths.”
DIFFERENT STRATEGIES FOR A COMPLEX PROCESS
The programme covers all the current strategies for investigating metastasis, the results of which will be presented by key researchers in this field. These include:
David Lyden, from the Weill Cornell Medical College (USA), is a world leading authority on the study of the formation mechanisms of the prea metastatic niche — healthy tissue that hosts cells from a primary tumour and develop secondary tumours. In 2012, his laboratory, to which Héctor Peinado belonged until 2013, determined that cells derived from bone marrow and exomes — microvesicles that cells expel into the bloodstream — are crucial for the formation of this niche.
Yibin Kang, from Princeton University (USA) and president-elect of the Metastasis Research Society. In 2009, he discovered a new gene, Metadherin (MTDH), which promotes breast cancer resistance to standard chemotherapy and induces its metastatization. This finding could lead to the improvement of the prognosis of patients in which the gene is overexpressed (30-40% of them). He has also identified the pathways that guide primary cancer cells to adjacent tissue.
Joan Massagué, from the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York (USA), won the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research in 2004, and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine in 2009. Massagué is a world leader in the research of the mechanisms that regulate the cellular activity of metastasis. He has identified key molecular mechanisms in embryonic development, the disruption of which leads to congenital disorders and cancer, as well as the genes involved in the metastatic spread of breast cancer.
Klaus Pantel, director of the Department of Tumour Biology at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Medical Centre (Germany), is an expert in circulating tumour cells (CTCs) and the detection of residual disease. He coordinates the European CANCER-ID project for cancer treatment and monitoring through the identification of CTCs in blood. He also coordinates the European CTC-SCAN group, which uses these cells as biomarkers of the clinical evolution of prostate cancer.
Julio A. Aguirre-Gisho, from the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York (USA), studies the mechanisms that induce cancer cells to become inactive. He has identified a dormancy signature in patients that have remained asymptomatic for decades that would predict extensive periods without metastasis for various tumour types. He is currently developing a clinical trial for an epigenetic reprogramming therapy that induces dormancy of cancer cells.
Editors from the main scientific journals in the field of oncology will be attending the conference as well: Gemma Alderton, from Nature Reviews Cancer, Victoria Aranda, from Nature Medicine, Li-Kuo Su, from Cancer Cell, Nathalie Le Bot, from Nature, and Alexia-Ileana Zaromytidou, Nature Cell Biology.
Full agenda: http://www.cnio.es/eventos/index.asp?ev=2&cev=122