Steven Stacker lab

The Steven Stacker lab, aims to understand how blood and lymphatic vessels contribute to cancer progression

The research focuses on understanding how cells of the tumour microenvironment can contribute to the progression of cancer either by promoting resistance to existing drugs or through enhancing metastatic spread. We are using advanced cell and molecular biology approaches to define the changes that occur in endothelial cells that line specialised vessels both before and during cancer spread (metastasis).  

We have defined key growth control points for blood and lymphatic vessels, and determined how these contribute to increased metastatic spread to lymph nodes and distant organs through manipulation of the host vessel network. These studies have led to diagnostic and therapeutic developments to treat human diseases. Our current studies are focused on revealing the different subsets of specialised endothelial cells that are involved in organ-specific metastasis to the lymph nodes, lung and brain. Analysis of these cells in models of metastatic spread are revealing the critical molecules required to establish the early spread of cancer cells.  

We are further exploring the role of a molecule RYK as a therapeutic target in cancer. This molecule is broadly expressed in human cancers and is linked to the cellular changes that occur in tumour cells during metastasis. We are using a human monoclonal antibody to the RYK receptor in order to define its role in tumour progression and to develop new therapeutic approaches to cancer.

Current projects

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