Welcome to the Laboratory for the Study of Metastatic Microenvironments (LSM2)

Housed within the Public Health Sciences Division’s Translational Research Program and directed by Dr. Cyrus Ghajar, the LSM2 seeks to understand some relatively basic questions regarding breast tumor cell dissemination and metastatic relapse. Given that:

i) Tumor cells disseminate from the primary site to distant organs very early during tumor progression, and

ii) A substantial fraction of women experience metastatic relapse from breast cancer several years or even decades after initial treatment…

we are interested in uncovering the following:

What are disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) doing from the time they disseminate to the time they are detected?

What sustains their survival?

What keeps dormant DTCs from growing?

Why don’t therapies kill them?

Answering these questions holds great promise to halt metastatic disease before it ever has a chance to start, which would result in tremendous gains in survivorship. The answers could also help us to understand some general mysteries in cell and developmental biology such as how tissue size is regulated and how tissue homeostasis is maintained.

We have embarked on a number of exciting projects to answer the above questions, and utilize a number of different models in pursuit of the answers. We invite you to look around to learn more about what we do, and please get in touch with any questions.