Longmore Lab

Longmore Lab Research

People rarely die from their primary tumor, rather it is the spread of their tumor to other organs (metastasis) that leads to death, and when that occurs there is a general lack of treatment options. Crosstalk between tumor cells and their associated cellular, physical, and chemical environment is now appreciated to be critical for tumor progression, metastasis, and response to therapy, yet the cellular and molecular basis for these tumor-environment communications is complex and not fully understood. Our lab is interested in understanding how cancers invade and spread throughout the body with the goal to identify and understand molecular pathways important for metastasis and then develop effective and selective ways to prevent the spread of cancer by targeting these pathways. To address this problem, we employ aspects of biochemistry, cell biology, biomechanics, genetics – mouse modeling of cancer, and cell and in vivo imaging.

In a number of genetic screens in breast tumor and ovarian tumor cells we have identified the collagen receptor DDR2 as a critical pathway regulating both tumor cell invasion and remodeling of the tumor stroma ECM.  In the regulation of metastasis, we have found that the action of DDR2 is important in both tumor cells and tumor stromal cells.

PROJECT 1.  How tumor stromal cells remodel the tumor extracellular matrix (ECM) to facilitate tumor cell invasion and metastasis

PROJECT 2.  The control of collective cell migration during tumor metastasis

            We have developed microfluidic platforms to study the collective migration of primary tumour organoids under physiologic conditions.  In these devices we can generate and control biochemical and biophysical gradients all under hypoxic conditions.  Moreover, we can image live cells in these devices.

PROJECT 3.  The development of novel therapeutics targeting tumor-tumor stroma cell communication so as to inhibit metastasis