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The Department of Biomedicine

CCBIO seminar: Helge Wiig

Lessons from a black box – The extracellular microenvironment and lymphatics in malignant tissue

Helge Wiig
Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen

In this seminar, focus will be the tumor cell microenvironment, i.e. the interstitial fluid bathing the tumor cells, and the lymph draining from the tumor via the lymphatics. Tumor interstitial fluid is not readily available, but we have managed to isolate native interstitial fluid from solid tumors excised from experimental animals as well as humans to access the extracellular tumor subproteome This fluid has also been used as a substrate in tumor biology studies. One of our aims was to investigate whether identified tumor interstitial fluid specific proteins may eventually serve as molecular markers for early detection and disease prediction. Such proteins might also serve as targets in molecular imaging and cancer therapy, and give new insight in tumor biology at the microenvironmental level. I will also discuss experiments of relevance for lymphatic metastases, that are a major clinical problem in many cancer types. We have used two mouse models with limited capacity for lymphangiogenesis, the Chy and K14-VEGFR3-IgG lymphedema mice, to ask questions regarding the role of lymphatic vessels in tumor development and progression. This work suggests that the establishment of tumor-associated inflammation and immunity critically depends on lymphatic vessel remodeling and drainage. Moreover, these results have implications for immunotherapies, the efficacies of which are regulated by the tumor immune microenvironment.

Chairperson: Lars A. Akslen, CCBIO