New Discoveries and Honors in Cancer Research

Read the latest cancer research and recognition from the members of the Damon Runyon scientific circle.
November 29, 2012
Understanding the mechanism of metastasis

Jing Yang, PhD (Damon Runyon Fellow ‘00-‘03) and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, demonstrated how cancer cells control a developmental process known as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to metastasize, breaking free and spreading to other parts of the body, where they proliferate and grow into secondary tumors. The researchers reported that activation of a gene called Twist1 turns on EMT, promoting cancer cell release into blood circulation; EMT must then be turned off once the tumor cells reach new sites in the body to proliferate and form metastases. Their findings suggest that EMT inhibitors may be possible cancer treatments. This work was published in the journal Cancer Cell.