Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO
CCBIO Seminar series

CCBIO Seminar – Edna Cukierman

We are happy to invite to a CCBIO Seminar with speaker Edna Cukierman from the Department of Cancer Biology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA. Title of the seminar is “Oncogenic synapses; stromal regulators of pancreatic cancer, metabolic support and innate immunosuppression”.

A seminar room with lots of audience and a lecturer, and a CCBIO poster in the background.
Colourbox/CCBIO collage

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SpeakerEdna Cukierman, Department of Cancer Biology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Title: “Oncogenic synapses; stromal regulators of pancreatic cancer, metabolic support and innate immunosuppression”

Abstract: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a devastating disease lacking effective therapies.  A major hallmark of PDAC is desmoplasia, characterized by the expansion of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and their extracellular matrix, creating a unique microenvironment that limits blood-supplied nutrition and is highly immunosuppressive.  The seminar will convey the discrete desmoplastic matrix-informed and integrin-dependent upregulation of a presynaptic protein in CAFs and its postsynaptic binding partner in PDAC cells, which together constitute the bases of a novel “oncogenic synapse.”  Using a three-dimensional co-culturing system, based on CAFs isolated from PDAC patients, we observed that oncogenic synapses control key pro-tumorigenic features of CAFs and PDAC cells, in cell autonomous and reciprocal manners.  The presynaptic protein in CAFs supports PDAC survival through an oncogenic synapse-mediated nutritional supply that partially depends on glutamate metabolism.  The postsynaptic protein controls tumor cell fitness in vivo, likely through the aforesaid metabolic communication with CAFs.  Data presented will propose that the intrinsically immunosuppressive CAFs can effectively inhibit NK cell-mediated killing of PDAC cells in a presynaptic protein-dependent manner.  Validation in vivo approaches will include the use of patient tissues and a murine PDAC model, which indicated that the ablation of the postsynaptic protein, in PDAC cells, can significantly halt tumor growth.  Overall, the seminar will communicate the identification of two new putative targets in different PDAC cellular compartments (i.e., microenvironmental and tumoral) and will highlight the notion that disrupting solely one arm of the newly-recognized “oncogenic synapse” could significantly stunt tumorigenesis.

Chairperson: Donald Gullberg, CCBIO

Time: Thursday August 30th at 14.30

Place: Auditorium 4, BB building, Bergen

Open for all, no seminar fee.

Also welcome to the pizza get-together after the seminar!

CCBIO has a monthly research seminar where invited guests and international or national speakers focus on current research topics and updates. 

The CCBIO Seminar series fulfills several aims.

  • Firstly, it conveys relevant biomarker research to the local scientific community and students and younger researchers in particular, providing the ground for future recruitment.
  • Secondly, it is part of two formal courses, BMED 380 on the master level, and together with the CCBIO Annual Symposium, forms CCBIO 902, a PhD level course.
  • Last, but not least, the CCBIO seminars with their subsequent open pizza get-together are an important arena for informal interaction between international researchers, CCBIO PIs and other CCBIO staff as well as interested researchers and students in general.

All interested researchers, students and others are welcome!