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Uncovering mechanisms and inhibitors of tumour-induced lymphangiogenesis

44 months
Approved budget:
Dr Jonathan Astin
Health issue:
Cancer (oncology)
Proposal type:
Lay summary
Cancer is now the most common cause of death in New Zealand. Mortality is frequently caused by the secondary spread of tumour cells (metastasis) to distant organs in the body via the lymphatic vasculature. One of the first steps in lymphatic-mediated metastasis is the growth of lymphatic vessels (lymphangiogenesis) towards and within the primary tumour; a process that could be targeted by drugs and form a new approach to cancer treatment. However, many of the signalling pathways that underlie lymphangiogenesis remain unknown and require identification to progress this work. We will use a zebrafish model of lymphangiogenesis to identify new genes and pathways that regulate lymphatic vessel growth. We will also conduct a chemical screen to identify anti-lymphatic compounds that inhibit tumour-induced lymphatic vessels in zebrafish and in mammalian models. This work will form an important first step in developing therapies to prevent or limit lymphatic-mediated metastasis.