The "Mechanisms of Cancer" program at FMI
In each tissue, our body strikes a balance between cell production and destruction. For example, every second, two million red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and released into circulation. The cells live for approximately 120 days and eventually die. This is the healthy, tightly regulated steady-state.
In addition, our body needs to react to altered circumstances and, for example, ramps up red blood cell production in case of injury and loss of blood or low oxygen content in the air. However, disruption of the regulatory processes governing production and destruction of cells leads more often than not to disease.
Cell growth regulation is brought about by signaling molecules. In recent years, the players in these signaling cascades have been identified but their interplay and roles in health and disease need to be further elucidated.
At FMI, the Mechanisms of Cancer program strives at a comprehensive understanding of signaling circuits and mechanisms regulating the growth, division and death of cells. A deeper knowledge of these processes should further the development of innovative, mechanism-based therapeutics to counter many human diseases.
Groups at FMI focusing on mechanisms of cancer questions:
Breast development, cancer and metastasis
Cell communication in growth control and differentiation
Susan M. Gasser
Functional organization of the nucleus
Brian A. Hemmings
Targeting the cancer kinome
Nancy E. Hynes
The molecular basis of breast cancer
Mechanisms of DNA repair
The molecular basis of genome maintenance