Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
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Tumor Environment & Metastasis

The objective of the Tumor Environment and Metastasis (TEAM) Program is to elucidate how interactions between tumor cells, immune cells and components of the host stromal microenvironment impact tumor development and progression. Work in the TEAM Program addresses three specific aims.

Scientific Aims

  1. Determine how cells interact with each other and their matrix, and define how adhesion-mediated signaling events affect tumor cell plasticity, invasion and metastasis.
  2. Elucidate the role of the extracellular matrix and the lympho-vascular system in tumor progression and therapeutic resistance.
  3. Understand the role of innate and adaptive immune systems in cancer initiation and progression, and develop strategies to effectively activate the immune system against cancer.

The TEAM Program achieves its aims by promoting interactions within TEAM and between TEAM members and those in other basic, clinical and population sciences programs, by linking TEAM members with shared resources, and through the strategic allocation of seed funds. The TEAM program brings together members for data sharing and to build collaborations through the TEAM seminar series and by organizing mini-symposia around the three specific aims. To promote inter-programmatic interactions and translational partnerships, investigators from other basic and clinical programs are invited as mini-symposia speakers and participants. The program advances translational research by promoting interactions with a group of clinical investigators who act as liaisons to the clinical programs, and by promoting participation of TEAM members in the Translational Bridge Initiative, translational symposia and related efforts.

Program Leaders

  • H.G. Munshi, MD, an expert in how tumor stromal matrix and proteases promote tumor progression and resistance to therapy.
  • Luisa Iruela-Arispe, PhD, focuses on the signaling pathways that regulate vascular morphogenesis during development and in pathological settings.
  • Bin Zhang, MD, PhD, focuses on developing new immunotherapies and immunologic strategies for cancer treatment.