La Fondation La Roche-Posay publication award
Congratulations to dermatologist Dr Andy Muinonen-Martin who has received a La Fondation La Roche-Posay publication award for his PLOS Biology paper 'Melanoma cells break down LPA to establish local gradients that drive chemotactic dispersal' (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4196730/). Andy was funded by a Wellcome Trust clinical research fellowship while working on this project in Prof Rob's Insall's group at the CRUK Beatson Institute.
Cancer spread is particularly prevalent in melanoma, leading to high mortality rates. In this work, Andy and his co-authors sought to understand what drives melanoma cells to migrate out of a tumour with such efficiency and what role, if any chemotaxis (where cells move in response to a chemical stimulus) plays in this. Using a chamber-based assay developed in the lab, they showed that melanoma cell dispersal occurs by positive chemotaxis as a result of outward-facing lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) gradients. Importantly, cells in vivo and in culture generate these gradients themselves by breaking down LPA. This led the authors to conclude that melanoma drives its own metastasis.
Annoucement of prize: https://twitter.com/larocheposayuki/status/693118012073889792