The brake on colorectal cancer metastasis

Eduard Batlle


    Eduard Batlle


    Institut de Recerca Biomèdica (IRB Barcelona), Spain


    Colorectal cancer kills an estimated 700,000 people worldwide each year. Most patients succumb to the disease due to the presence of metastasis, either at the time of diagnosis, or after its onset during the first few years after curative therapy. Metastases can affect up to 40% of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer and lead to a dramatic reduction in cancer survival.

    Current therapies in most cases are not effective in eliminating metastatic disease. Tumor cells have been shown to modify their immediate environment to evade the action of the immune system and to be able to regenerate a new tumor in organs with characteristics very different from those of the colon and rectum. The main goal of this project is to find out how this protection is built around the initiating cells of metastasis that allows the regeneration of the tumor by circumventing the surveillance of the immune system. To do this, Batlle will analyze the interaction of malignant cells with those present in the liver, and will intervene in the tumor environment using genetic tools to define its weak points.

    By doing so, Batlle hopes to contribute to the development of new therapies aimed at halting this strategy in patients with advanced colorectal cancer. These therapies may also be useful for other types of solid tumors that use similar mechanisms to evade the action of the immune system.


    Origin and functions of the tumor stroma in metastatic colorectal cancer