Recent studies have suggested that the apparently normal tissue surrounding cancers (often referred to stroma) is not a passive bystander but may play an important role in driving the growth and spread of the cancer.
This idea was first raised a century ago with the concept of the 'seed' (the cancer) and the 'soil' (the surrounding normal tissue). This so called 'cancer associated stroma' is also thought by some scientists to harbour defects in cancer promoting genes.
Others have suggested that without these stroma mutations, the cancer cannot survive. If true, this would have profound implications for how we treat cancer. However, the data supporting the existence of stromal mutations is controversial. Our laboratory will utilise the latest technologies to provide definitive information as to whether mutations in cancer associated stroma really do exist.
A/Prof Ian Campbell, A/Prof Kornelia Polyak
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
$100,000 per annum