Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre

Stromal Targeting Group

Group leader

Research focus

Joyce and Pollard, Nat Rev. 2009

Traditional chemotherapy agents attack the cancer cells. Many of the newer approaches that are being developed, target instead the normal cells of the tumour stroma.  The concept of targeting the stroma to kill the cancer has arisen from the accumulating evidence that the stroma plays an essential role in supporting the growth of solid cancers.  The tumour stroma comprises of multiple cell types and includes the endothelial cells, immune T- and B-lymphocytes, natural killer cells, dendritic cells, fibroblasts, neutrophils and macrophages. Many of these cells have been actively recruited into the tumour in response to factors released by the cancer cells. Once in the tumour site, these non-cancerous cells are exploited by the cancer cells to perform functions that promote tumour growth and survival. Our research programme is focused on dissecting the molecular interactions between the cancer cells and the stromal cells, to provide insights for the design and development of novel strategies to disrupt these interactions to provide therapeutic gain.

Technologies and methodologies utilised

  • Luminex 100 TM for simultaneous detection of multiple analytes, cytokines, proteins.
  • Calliper IVIS imaging for detection of intra-cranial tumours and metastases.
  • Single- and triple-quadrupole-mass spectrometry for detection of therapeutic drugs and their metabolites in biological fluids.
  • Micro-dialysis sampling of intracellular fluid of living tissues in real-time.
  • Multi-colour immuno-fluorescence labelling of tumour cryosections for analysis of stromal infiltrates.
  • FACS analysis for fine dissection of stromal cell numbers in tumours before and after treatment.
  • Full tissue culture facilities for growth of human and murine tumour cells and primary immune cells.
  • Molecular biology, including Westerns, EMSAs, RT-PCR, micro-arrays, siRNA knock-downs, cell transfections.
  • High throughput enzymatic assays using automated JANUS work station for compound screening.
  • Full facilities for expression and purification of functional IDO1 and TDO enzymes.

Group members