UMR 1279

Head of unit
Guillaume Montagnac


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UMR 1279

UMR 1279 - Tumor cell dynamics

The general scientific objective of the “Tumor cell dynamics” unit is to understand the cellular mechanisms that govern the pathological development of tumor invasion. Genetic or epigenetic alterations, together with modifications of the microenvironment, lead to a broad deregulation of major cellular functions in cancers and many of them certainly play an important role in metastasis dissemination. However, the cell is the basic unit of life and is the essential level to integrate the functional consequences of the many alterations occurring during the disease. Understanding how such alterations perturb the logistics of the cell is thus essential to fully embrace the complexity of tumoral progression and invasion. This fundamental knowledge is essential to develop new therapeutic approaches.

Thus, the ambition of the “Tumor cell dynamics” unit is to put the cell at the center of research axes focused on the dynamic events occurring during cancers and more specifically during tumor invasion and metastasis dissemination. It is still largely not understood how cancer cells growing at the primary sites manage to disseminate in the organism to establish distant, secondary tumors. Because metastases are the primary cause of morbidity in most cases, it is of the highest importance to dissect the mechanisms whereby these cells escape from the primary tumor, migrate in the stroma, intravasate and extravasate in the circulatory system and grow at distant sites.

To address these questions, the “Tumor cell dynamics” unit develops two main general scientific aims in a cooperative manner, taking advantage of the particular expertise of each teams.

1- A major research axis focuses on identifying the causes and consequences of the different invasion/migration strategies employed by cancer cells to escape from the primary tumor and on the identification of targets inhibiting this process.

2- A second fundamental research axis consists in understanding how modifications of the general organization of cancer cells participate in their invasive phenotype. Because the cell is the functional unit of life, it is important to understand how molecular alterations modulate the internal logistics of the cell and, consequently, cellular functions.

This Research Unit is subdivided into three teams:

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