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Sarah-Maria Fendt (Professor of Oncology, KU Leuven, Belgium), Nutrient dependencies of metastasis formation
13 March | 14 h 30 min - 16 h 00 min
Sarah-Maria Fendt is since 2013 a Principal Investigator at the VIB Center for Cancer Biology and Professor of Oncology at KU Leuven, Belgium. Sarah’s lab is specifically interested in elucidating general regulatory principles in metabolism, and understanding cancer metabolism during metastasis formation as well as during altered whole body physiology. To perform novel research in her fields of interest her group exploits their expertise in metabolomics and fluxomics. The research of Sarah’s lab is currently funded by multiple (inter)national grants and industry, which include an ERC consolidator grant. Sarah received several awards such as the EMBO Gold Medal.
This talk will be given by Zoom. (Please contact Thomas Pradeu for the link).
Metastasis formation is the leading cause of death in cancer patients. We find that metabolic rewiring is a liability of metastasizing cancer cells. For example, we discovered that extracellular remodeling of the metastatic niche, a process essential to metastasis formation, requires a transcriptional- independent regulation via the metabolites. Moreover, we provide knowledge on intratumor heterogeneity of metabolism and its role in metastasis formation. Specifically, we discovered that heterogeneity in the metabolic enzyme phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH) predicts in cancer patients the risk for metastasis formation. Strikingly, loss of PHGDH protein expression drives early dissemination of cancer cells due to a novel mechanism leading to the posttranslational modification of cell surface integrins. More recently, we have investigated the nutrient dependencies of metastasis and find a strong organ specific pattern. Thus, we study the metabolism of metastasizing cancer cells with the goal to define novel therapeutic strategies.