Richard O. Hynes

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Hynes Lab Identifies Extracellular Proteins that Help Tumors Metastasize

KI faculty member and Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research Richard Hynes and a group of colleagues led by KI postdoc Alexandra Naba have discovered that certain proteins in the extracellular matrix, the supportive scaffold that gives tissues their structure, help cancer cells escape their original locations to spread through the body. The researchers identified dozens of proteins that surround highly metastatic breast cancer tumors, but not less aggressive tumors, and found that four of those proteins are critical to metastasis. The findings, which appear in the journal eLife, could lead to new tests that predict which tumors are most likely to metastasize, and may also help to identify new therapeutic targets for metastatic tumors. “In principle, one could imagine interfering with some of these extracellular proteins and blocking metastasis in a patient. We’re a long way from that, but it’s not inconceivable,” says Hynes. The researchers are now looking for extracellular matrix proteins that are overexpressed in metastatic colon and pancreatic cancers, and are also studying the role of extracellular matrix proteins in tissues to which tumors often metastasize. more...

David Benjamin Receives Competitive Research Grant

The Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation presented KI graduate student David Benjamin, a member of the Hynes laboratory,with one of ten nationally competitive 2013 Research Scholar Awards.  The $10,000 grants support exceptional graduate student melanoma research and also provide distinction to lab directors, universities and cancer research institutions across the U.S. more...

Platelets Can Serve as a "Travel Kit" for Tumor Cell Migration

Platelets -- the blood cells that normally promote clotting -- are known to promote the metastatic spread of cancer, but the exact mechanism has remained unclear.  In the Nov. 14th issue of Cancer Cell, KI researchers report that platelets give off chemical signals that induce tumor cells to become more invasive and plant themselves in new locations. These findings may lead to new interventions to block metastasis. more...