The Department of Biomedicine
Zoom Video Webinar

CCBIO webinar: Ritva Heljasvaara

Novel roles of collagens and α11 integrin in solid cancers

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Ritva Heljasvaara
Oulu Center for Cell-Matrix Research, Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland, and Centre for Cancer Biomarkers (CCBIO), University of Bergen

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is involved in neoplastic transformation, tumor growth and metastatic dissemination, and the interplay between the ECM and tumor and stromal cells, such as carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) is considered crucial for the formation of a tumor-supporting microenvironment. Both tumor and stromal cells actively produce ECM proteins, as well as ECM-crosslinking and ECM-degrading enzymes, thereby contributing to tumor stiffness and releasing ECM-embedded molecular cues that can either favour or impede cancer cell adhesion, survival, proliferation, and migration. The alterations in the ECM are central for the generation of cancer stem cells, the founder population nourishing continuous neoplastic growth and contributing therapeutic success and relapse. In my presentation, I will discuss some of our recent advances in understanding the complex roles of certain ECM collagens in breast cancer, and the role of the CAF-produced collagen-binding integrin a11b1 in skin squamous cell carcinoma.

Chairperson: Donald Gullberg, CCBIO