Work from researchers around the world has shown that mutations within the incipient cancer cell are critical to tumor development and that mutations are known to accumulate with age. In addition, it is now appreciated that age-related changes that occur in the normal cells that surround the incipient tumor cells may also play an important role in tumor development. Our focus is to uncover these “nontumor” changes and determine how they impact tumor development.
We are developing novel culture conditions that more closely recapitulate the interactions between incipient tumor cells and the supporting stoma around them, and testing the role of putative “stromal” factors in the growth of human breast cancer cells. Finally, we are examining human breast tissue ranging from normal to tumorigenic for the presence of these factors. This work will allow us to more completely understand cancer progression.
(Pictured above: Adeline Lim, Agnieszka Milczarek and Sheila Stewart)