July 2011 – NIH has funded Silvia Goicoechea, PhD, to study invadopodia assembly in pancreatic tumor-associated fibroblasts.

Silvia Goicoechea

July 2011 – The NIH has awarded Silvia Goicoechea, PhD, an RO3 grant for her research project, “Invadopodia assembly in pancreatic tumor-associated fibroblasts.”

Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is an exceptionally lethal cancer characterized by rapid progression and early metastasis, and it is now clear that tumor-associated fibroblasts (TAFs), the major cell type in the tumor stroma, promote the metastasis of tumor cells by contracting the extracellular matrix and creating channels that facilitate tumor cell migration. Recently published results have shown that the actin-binding protein palladin is dramatically up-regulated in TAFs and thus may contribute to the acquisition of the invasive-promoting activity of TAFs.

The proposed research project will test the idea that TAFs may utilize palladin-dependent pathways to induce formation of invasive structures called invadopodia, leading to matrix remodeling, and thus to enhanced metastasis of tumor cells.