For cancer patients with tumors, there always a risk of the tumor spreading to a different organ, which makes fighting the cancer more difficult and risky. However, this spread of cancer very rarely occurs on skeletal muscles, which make up nearly 50% of body mass. Why don't these metastatic cancer cells move to and grow on these skeletal muscles? Researchers are still unclear. Now, with the help of a recent $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation, a research team at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will focus on studying this elusive topic. (Image courtesy of CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
The Fred Hutchinson research team, led by Dr. Cyrus Ghajar, a cancer researcher and bioengineer, will focus their research over the next three years on studying why breast and prostate cancer does not metastasize on skeletal muscles. Researchers know that all tissues and organs are surrounded by cells rich in protein. The Seattle team will study whether the cells around skeletal muscles have a unique factor that contribute to lack of tumor growth.
Dr. Ghajar explained: "The lung is 'fertile soil' for breast cancer, as is bone marrow. Nearly 90 percent of metastatic prostate cancer goes to the bone. But metastatic cells can sit within skeletal muscle for years, over decades, and almost never wake up."
This research project will have two main components:
- Study the proteins and metabolite that make up the microenvironment of skeletal muscles to identify any proteins specific to the area, or a of proteins found in other tissue environments.
- Looking inside tumor cells tend to grow on skeletal muscles to understand their molecular components.
With this information, the researchers will then see if they can replicate the environment surrounding skeletal muscles to be used to protect organs that are more susceptible to cancer growth.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle receives millions of dollars annually from private and public institutions and donors. In the 2016 fiscal year, the center received more than $247.6 million in life science funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Funding given to the university is used to establish new research buildings and support vital life science research being undertaken at the institution. Learn more about how funding at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is being used:
- $7 million in research funding for study of second primary breast cancer
- $6.4 million in research funding to improve heart health of cancer survivors
- $25.5 million granted to Fred Hutch researchers to defeat HIV
With so much funding from the NIH and other sources, researchers at Fred Hutch have the means to purchase may new lab products that will assist their research projects. Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. produces an annual BioResearch Product FaireTM event in Seattle that is a premiere opportunity for laboratory suppliers to market their to life science researchers, and allows the researchers to find the best products and technologies for their work.
The 12th Annual BioResearch Product FaireTM Event in Seattle will be held on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 and is expected to attract over 100 active life scientists from around the campus.
To learn more about exhibiting at this popular event, visit the link below: