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Tumor Environment and Metastasis (TEAM)

H. G. Munshi, MD
Hidayatullah G Munshi, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine - Hematology/Oncology
Feinberg School of Medicine
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center

Carole LaBonne, PhD
Carole LaBonne, PhD
Professor of Molecular Biosciences, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Director, Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences (IBiS) PhD Program
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center

Membership Roster

The Tumor Environment and Metastasis (TEAM) Program of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University utilizes an integrative approach to elucidate key molecular interactions between tumor cells and components of the host stromal microenvironment including matrix, vascular structures and cells of the immune system. As the vast majority of cancer patient mortality is attributable to metastatic disease, the overall objective of the TEAM program is to obtain a more detailed understanding of these fundamental processes, and to translate these findings into the clinical setting as novel diagnostic or therapeutic approaches for the inhibition of tumor metastasis.

H. G. Munshi, MD, Program Leader, is an expert in how tumor stromal matrix and proteases promote tumor progression and resistance to therapy. As an oncologist in the Department of Medicine, he will help to integrate the basic and translational efforts to bring basic discoveries from the TEAM program to the bedside. He works closely with co-leader Carole LaBonne, PhD, an expert in how neural crest derived factors promote tumor metastasis and a faculty member in the Department of Molecular Biosciences.

The goals of the Tumor Environment and Metastasis program are to:

  1. Determine how cells interact with each other and their matrix, and better understand adhesion-mediated and mechanically-transduced signaling events.
  2. Investigate the contribution of tumor environment including matrix assembly, matrix stiffness, proteinases, and immune systems that modulate invasion and metastasis.
  3. Understand the molecular mechanisms that control epithelial-mesenchymal transitions and regulate tumor cell motility and invasiveness.
  4. Develop therapeutic strategies to target molecules and pathways that promote metastasis, angiogenesis, and therapeutic resistance.

Future goals of the TEAM program are to participate in the targeted recruitment of scientists who have expertise in 3-D models, tumor-microenvironment interactions, and pre-clinical model systems (in particular patient-derived xenograft and human organoid models), to bring new technologies and 3-D physiologically relevant models to the study of cancer biology, and to nurture interactions among basic and clinical scientists through partnering with NMDTI, and to facilitate translation of basic findings to the clinic.