“Cancer targeted therapy and tumor heterogeneity: Act locally, think globally”, Prof. Mohamed Bentires-Alj

Speaker: Prof. Mohamed Bentires-Alj, Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland

Host: Dr. Lee Kim Swee, BioMed X

Breast cancer is diagnosed in ~1.4 million women worldwide and ~500,000 lives are lost to the disease annually, the vast majority due to metastasis. Curing metastatic breast cancer clearly represents an unmet medical need. Patients may do well after surgery and adjuvant treatment but drug-resistant, fatal metastases often develop. Critical to the phenomenon of resistance is tumor heterogeneity, which is the thread connecting Mohamed Bentires-Alj’s research.
Tumor heterogeneity impinges on prognosis, response to therapy, and metastasis and is one of the most important and clinically relevant areas of cancer research. Heterogeneity results from genetic and epigenetic alterations that enhance the plasticity and fitness of cancer cells in the face of hurdles such as the metastatic cascade and anti-cancer therapies. At the molecular, cellular, and whole organism levels, Mohamed’s team assesses mechanisms that influence normal and neoplastic breast stem cells, metastasis, and resistance to targeted therapies.