Category Archives: Breast Cancer

Funding: Susan G. Komen® Career Catalyst Research Grant

SGK logo 2017Thomas R. Cox, Sep 2017

We’re delighted to announce the we have been awarded a research grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the world’s leading breast cancer organisation.

The grant will support a project investigating how stiffness in breast tissue can drive the aggressive behaviour of cancer cells, and how tissue stiffness impacts on the effectiveness of breast cancer treatments

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Matrix: Dissolved – ABC Radio Network Health Report

ABC RN.pngThomas R. Cox, July 2017

I was recently invited to chat with Norman Swan on ABC Radio National’s Health report about some of the recent work we have been doing on the Extracellular Matrix in cancer.

The extracellular matrix or the matrix is the web- or mesh-like structure that encases the cells in the tissues and organs of our body.

ISDoT Mammary Fat Pad

Image: Mayorca-Guiliani AE, Madsen CD, Cox TR et al. Nature Medicine (2017)

We recently developed a new technique which dissolves the cells from tumours to leave behind this matrix, allowing us to study it in unprecedented detail – and we discuss the potential of these research outcomes. Continue reading

Publication: ISDoT – in situ decellularization of tissues for high-resolution imaging and proteomic analysis of native extracellular matrix

Thomas R. Cox, Jun 2017

“We’re seeing things we’ve never seen before”: groundbreaking new technique sheds light on the ‘matrix’ surrounding our cells

Our most recent research  has just been published in Nature Medicine.

In our  paper we describe a new and intuitive new way to dissolve cells from tissues, leaving behind the extracellular matrix (ECM) or ‘matrix’.

The matrix is made up of 100’s of differing building blocks and surrounds the cells in our body. It is incredibly important in the progression and spread of cancer – but up until now it has been notoriously difficult to study in detail.


‘ISDoT’ mammary gland during lactation stained for the extracellular matrix (ECM) molecule Collagen IV

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Funding: NHMRC New Investigator Grant to Thomas Cox

NHMRC Logo 1Thomas R. Cox, Dec 2017

We’re delighted to announce the we have been awarded a New Investigator Project Grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The grant will support a project investigating how  targeting tumour tissue stiffness can increase the efficacy of currently approved therapies in solid cancers. Continue reading

Hvis kræft ikke spredte sig, var det ikke så farligt

Thomas R. Cox, Nov 2015

Kræfts evne til at sprede sig er en af de største udfordringer i bekæmpelsen af sygdommen. Har kræften spredt sig, bliver den nemlig meget sværere at få has på. Brystkræft, som årligt rammer næsten 4.900 danske kvinder, er blandt de kræftformer, som ofte spreder sig.

Nanna Bisbjerg fra Rask magasinet forsøger at forstå spredningen af kræft og har talt med Janine Erler og hendes team på Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC) på Københavns Universitet (KU) om fremtiden og hendes seneste forskning på området.

Den online version (kun på dansk) af artiklen kan findes i denne måneds Rask Magasinet her

Alternativt kan downloade en .pdf kopi af artiklen her

(English below)


27% af alle kræfttilfælde blandt kvinder er brystkræft, hvilket svarer til at 13 kvinder hver dag får diagnosen. Hvis brystkræft spreder sig, sker det typisk til lunger, lever og knogler. Screening betyder heldigvis, at de fleste tilfælde opdages tidligt. (27% of all cancers among women are breast cancer, this means that 13 women are diagnosed every day. If breast cancer spreads, it typically goes to the lungs, liver and bone. With screening, fortunately, most cases are detected early)

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Publication: Dataset for the proteomic inventory and quantitative analysis of the breast cancer hypoxic secretome associated with osteotropism

Thomas R. Cox, Nov 2015

As part of our recent Nature paper (see previous post here) we sought to catalogue all of the different proteins secreted by breast cancer cells (the secretome) under conditions of hypoxia (low oxygen). Hypoxia is a common feature of most solid tumours and is very important in determining how cancer cells behave. Our hypothesis was that the breast cancer secretome changes under hypoxic conditions and that these changes were important in determining the how a patient’s tumour spreads around the body.

To create this catalogue, we performed Mass Spectrometry, a powerful analytical chemistry technique which allows us to both indentify and quantify proteins in a given sample. By creating a list of all the proteins present in the secretome of breast cancer cells, we were able to identify important proteins which may be responsible for determining how and where breast cancer spreads. In our paper we chose to focus specifically on one of these identified secreted proteins called Lysyl Oxidase (LOX).

Open Access – Open Data

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Publication: Our new paper is out in EMBO Reports

Thomas R. Cox, Sep 2015

I’m pleased to announce that our recent paper on Cancer-Associated-Fibroblasts (CAFs) in cancer has just been published in the Journal EMBO Reports titled “Hypoxia and loss of PHD2 inactivate stromal fibroblasts to decrease tumour stiffness and metastasis.

Hypoxia and loss of PHD2 inactivate stromal fibroblasts to decrease tumour stiffness and metastasis

Hypoxia and loss of PHD2 inactivate stromal fibroblasts to decrease tumour stiffness and metastasis

In this paper we show that chronic hypoxia (lack of oxygen) within primary tumours leads to a deactivation of cancer associated fibroblasts. Continue reading