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Please support PCC's Step Up Challenge by donating to either the Behavioral Medicine Lab Team OR Team Nanosteps

Prostate Cancer Canada’s Step Up Challenge 2019!

Prostate Cancer Canada’s Step Up Challenge 2019 pits endurance and drive against multistory office tower stairwells and gravity to raise funds for local prostate cancer research projects and initiatives in four Canadian cities. Heroic participants challenged the stairs in Toronto and Calgary on March 3rd, still to come is Vancouver on March 10th and Edmonton on March 17th (St. Patricks day!).

Congratulations to Calgary’s Step Up Challenge event participants who raised 111% of their $95 000 goal! These proceeds will support Dr. Tarek Bismar’s team at the University of Calgary. They are using blood samples from men with slow-growing prostate cancer that has not spread outside the prostate to determine if their disease is likely to advance. Learn more about this project from APCaRI and the Prostate cancer Collaborative Research Alliance.

Edmonton’s Step Up Challenge event is actively raising funds to support Dr. Kerry Courneya’s team at the University of Alberta, with 30% of the $65 000 goal reached currently. Dr. Courneya is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Cancer and Director of The Behavioral Medicine Laboratory and Fitness Center. This project is being led by doctoral student Dong-woo (Derek) Kang and will study whether exercise can reduce tumour growth and anxiety for men on active surveillance. Learn more about this project that could contribute to delaying, or even eliminating, the need for treatment from the Behavioral Medicine Laboratory and Fitness Center.

Dr. Kerry Courneya

ERASE-Scientific-Abstract

Please support the Edmonton Step Up Challenge 2019 as either a participant, or donor, or both!
The Lewis lab has entered Team Nanosteps into the challenge, check out our fundraising page and support the team by clicking on this link and making a secure online donation using your credit card.

Kerry Courneya’s Behavioral Medicine Lab team is also hitting the stairs, please click here to go to their Step Up Challenge team page to sponsor them with a donation as well!

Thanks in advance for any support you are able to provide. Get your runners and see you on March 17th!

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Why did the chicken cross the road…?

Konstantin Stoletov and Lian Willetts co-first-authored an article published recently in Nature Communications titled “Quantitative in vivo whole genome motility screen reveals novel therapeutic targets to block cancer metastasis“. These two researchers, along with fellow Lewis lab members and collaborators from the University of Calgary and Vanderbilt University set out to determine what genes and signaling networks are involved in the rate-limiting steps of solid tumour cell motility, in vivo. But the team was hampered by the lack of an effective, quantitative, in vivo imaging platform. They wanted to visualize the movement of tumour cells, or lack of, in real-time AND use this intravital imaging platform to screen a large bank of tumour cells harboring single gene mutations for cells that show a loss of motility.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04743-2

When tumour cells metastasize they get into (intravasate) the hosts’ bloodstream and use the vascular system like roadways to travel throughout the body. This lets the tumour cells colonize new microenvironments where they will proliferate and form new tumours. So metastatis is really dependent on tumour cell motility. Although there are many different types of solid tumours known, previous research suggests that if the tumour cells can mobilize and metastasize then the expressed motility-related genes share homology across tumour types. This is great news because it would mean that therapeutic targets aimed at stopping motility could also stop metastasis for many tumour types!

Dr. Konstantin Stoletov

 

Dr. Lian Willetts
Dr. Lian Willetts

The Lewis lab researchers and their collaborators developed an in vivo, fluorescent, time-lapse screening platform that uses shell-less avian embryos for tumour growth and formation. The avian embryo is an excellent tumour model because the tumour cells will grow on the chorioallantoic membrane in a single cell layer, making in vivo cell motility imaging actually doable.

Using this platform the team screened over 30 000 human genes for the ones needed for cell motility and ultimately found 17 genes that looked to be effective metastasis-blocking gene targets. Stoletov, along with other Lewis lab members, are continuing this research by studying these 17 attractive candidates further to determine which one (s) would make therapeutic metastasis-blocking targets.

This article has generated a lot of interest in the scientific community and in the general public! Check out the links below to mentions and articles in the media.

https://www.biocentury.com/bc-innovations/translation-brief/2018-07-18/how-chicken-embryo-screen-identified-entos%E2%80%99-

https://www.ualberta.ca/medicine/news/2018/june/putting-the-brakes-on-metastatic-cancer

Stay tuned for a podcast that will be posted soon from “Parsing Science” where the hosts interview Dr. John Lewis about this work!

https://www.parsingscience.org/coming_soon/
UPDATE Oct 12, 2018: The podcast with John Lewis on Parsing Science called “Halting Cancers’ Spread“, is now available!

- Perrin Beatty