Course in Cancer Metabolism
Written by Catarina Almeida
On the 29-30th of November 2018, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN) project TRANSMIT organised the ‘Course in Cancer Metabolism’ event in the beautiful Bertinoro, Italy. This provided the opportunity for all attendees to discuss the most recent advances in cancer metabolism, with a particular focus on the role of mitochondria in tumorigenesis. There were presentations made by world-renowned speakers in the field, the 11 TRANSMIT Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and poster presentations by 20 young researchers from all over the world.
Recent advances and discoveries in the role of mitochondria in tumorigenesis have attributed to momentum-building within this field. TRANSMIT co-ordinators Anna Maria Porcelli, Giuseppe Gasparre, Barbara Kofler and Rodrigue Rossignol organised the event and invited 10 speakers to present their research; Ralph J. DeBerardinis1, Fátima Baltazar2, Bernhard Radlwimmer3, Almut Schulze4, Ana Mateus5, Luigi Ombrato6, Gyorgy Szabadkai7, Fatima Mechta-Grigoriu8, Laurent Le Cam9 and Cristina Muñoz Pinedo10.
Dr DeBernardinis shared his work on the role of intrinsic and extrinsic factors in cancer metabolism, using imaging technology in human patients, genomic and metabolomic analysis of tumour samples and the culturing and analysis human cancer cell lines with the goal to identify which altered metabolic pathways could represent potential therapeutic targets.
Similarly, Dr Schulze presented how lipid biosynthesis and anti-oxidant generation are important mechanisms of survival for cancer cells, and suggested how these mechanisms could be used as potential targets for cancer treatment.
From another interesting angle, Dr Ombrato discussed the importance of tumour microenvironment on tumour growth and progression. His group developed a strategy to identify metastatic cancer cells within the tissue and showed, using lung alveolar epithelial cells, that these cells within the niche tumour microenvironment present stem cell attributes which fuel tumour growth.
The 11 ESRs also had the opportunity to share research from the first year of their projects, covering different aspects of cancer metabolism, and to engage with their peers and supervisors. The ‘Course in Cancer Metabolism’ event allowed networking and building of relationships and potential collaborations. The event culminated with a poster presenting session, where 20 young researchers from all over the world, funded by TRANSMIT, were able to share their work.
This ‘Course in Cancer Metabolism’ event, and other similar events, are crucial for building future scientific collaborations. I hope I speak for all TRANSMIT ESRs when I say that we feel very privileged to be given the opportunities that our TRANSMIT project has presented, and we shall continue to give our best in order to establish a better understanding of the role of mitochondria in cancer.
To find out more about the TRANSMIT project, visit their website www.transmit-project.eu or contact Giuseppe De Bonis (firstname.lastname@example.org).
1 Children’s Medical Center Research Institute, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA
2 Life and Health Sciences Research Institute, School of Health Sciences, University of Minho, Portugal; ICVS/3B’s – PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal
3 Cancer Research Center – DKFZ, Germany
4 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Theodor-Boveri-Institute, Biocenter, Würzburg, Germany
5 Senior Editor at Nature Metabolism, London, UK
6 The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK
7 Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, consortium for Mitochondrial Research, University College London, London; Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Padova, Italy; The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK
8 Stress and Cancer Laboratory, Institut Curie, INSERM U830, Paris, France
9 Institut de Recherche en Cancérologie de Montpellier, INSERM, University of Montpellier, France
10 Cell Death Regulation Group, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain