Publication: The Role of the ECM in Lung Cancer Dormancy and Outgrowth

Thomas R. Cox, September 2020

The Role of the ECM in Lung Cancer Dormancy and Outgrowth

We are pleased to report that our recent in depth review on the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in Lung cancer, both in primary and metastatic settings has just been published as part of a special edition on ‘Revisiting Seed and Soil: A New Approach to Target Hibernating Dormant Tumor Cells‘ in Frontiers in Oncology: Molecular and Cellular Oncology.

Extracellular Matrix in Lung Cancer
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Publication: Stromal cell diversity associated with immune evasion in human triple‐negative breast cancer

Thomas R. Cox, Aug 2020

Stromal cell diversity associated with immune evasion in human triple‐negative breast cancer

We are excited to have been part of a recent piece of work using single cell genomics to map the different cell types present with triple negative breast cancer which has recently been published in EMBO.

The work, led by Alex Swarbrick and his team here at the Garvan uncovered four new subtypes of cells within triple negative breast cancer, which contain promising new therapeutic targets for the aggressive disease. These cells produces molecules that suppress immune cells, which may help cancer cells evade the body’s immune system, and the work could lead to a new class of therapies for triple negative breast cancer.

Breast cancer stromal cell diversity
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Publication: Plasma polymerized nanoparticles effectively deliver dual siRNA and drug therapy in vivo

Thomas R. Cox, Jul 2020

Plasma polymerized nanoparticles effectively deliver dual siRNA and drug therapy in vivo

We are delighted to have been part of an exciting study looking into the potential of a new class of multifunctional nanocarrier to deliver dual siRNA and drug therapy to breast tumours which was recently published in Scientific Reports.

The work was led by our collaborators Miguel Santos and Steven Wise from the Applied Materials Group at the University of Sydney who pioneered the development of these novel multifunctional nanocarriers.

Plasma polymerized nanoparticles for cancer treatment
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Award: M&M team awarded MBSANZ paper(s) of the year

Thomas R. Cox, Feb 2020


The Matrix Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand (MBSANZ) has just announced their “Paper of the Year” awards in the Early Career Research (ECR) and Mid Career Researcher (MCR) categories.

We are delighted that two papers from the Matrix & Metastasis lab and collaborators have been chosen for these awards

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People: Farewell and good luck…

Thomas R. Cox, January 2020

As with any new lab (M&M turned 3 a couple of months ago 🎉), the first few years are typically about building a reliable team to help a new PI lay the foundations for establishing a functioning (and hopefully successful) research laboratory. The actual hiring process is incredibly stressful for new PI’s, often agonising for days over their first few hires. A bad hire when starting out can really set you back when the lab is in a fledgling state. At the same time, the inevitable moving on of good hires can be equally as hard…

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Publication: Cancer Metastasis: The Role of the Extracellular Matrix and the Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycan Perlecan

Thomas R. Cox, Jan 2020

Cancer Metastasis: The Role of the Extracellular Matrix and the Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycan Perlecan

Our recent review paper in collaboration with colleagues in Sydney and Melbourne on the role of the ECM and in particular the Heparan Sulphate Proteoglycan, Perlecan, in cancer and cancer metastasis, has just been published in Frontiers in Oncology.

Perlecan (HSPG2) in Cancer

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People: Our newest M&M starter – Kaitlin

Thomas R. Cox, Jan 2020

We are pleased to announce that Kaitlin Wyllie has just joined the Matrix & Metastasis team as a Research Assistant.
Kaitlin Wyllie - Matrix & Metastasis

Kaitlin recently completed her Master of Research (M.Res.) at the Department of Molecular Sciences at Macquarie University.

Kaitlin will join our projects looking at the role of the ECM in breast cancer therapy and our efforts to develop novel targeting approaches.


People: First Class Honours all round…

Thomas R. Cox, Dec 2019

I am delighted to share the news that our two wonderful Honours Students for 2019, Yordanos Setargew and Shivanjali Ratnaseelan have both been awarded First Class Honours from the School of Medical Sciences at UNSW Sydney. Yordanos for her project on “Targeting lysyl oxidase driven fibrosis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma via copper inhibition” and Shivanjali for her project on the “Role of Extracellular Matrix Stiffness on Tumor Cell Response to Therapy”

Congratulations to both 🙂


Publication: Targeting the lysyl oxidases in tumour desmoplasia

Thomas R. Cox, Nov 2019

Targeting the lysyl oxidases in tumour desmoplasia

Our recent review discussing the importance, and also the therapeutic potential of inhibiting the lysyl oxidase (LOX) family of enzymes as a stromal targeting therapy has just been published in Biochemical Society Transactions.

The Lysyl Oxidase (LOX) Family

The Lysyl Oxidase (LOX) family of enzymes

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Award: St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation Award to Elysse

Thomas R. Cox, Nov 2019

I’m delighted to announce that Elysse from the Matrix and Metastasis Team has just been awarded the St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation K&A Collins Cancer Research Award.

Elysse_SVCF_AwardThe St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation was established in 1992 to further the educational and research objectives of St Vincent’s Clinic and the surrounding precinct. The Foundation provides much-needed seed funding towards real research projects for real people including medical, basic and multidisciplinary research. The Awards are given to support bright young researchers who can put their research into real-world practise to improve patient care and health outcomes for the community.

The award which was announced at the annual Sandra David Oration, will give Elysse the opportunity (and $50,000 of seed funding) to further her novel work to find new and effective treatments for breast cancer to improve the clinical care and outcomes for patients.

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People: Research Assistant position available to start late 2019/early 2020

Thomas R. Cox, Oct 2019


We are seeking a full-time dedicated Research Assistant (RA) to come work with us.  The group combines the use of 3D models of cancer with novel state-of-the-art imaging approaches to reveal how the extracellular matrix (ECM) drives cancer progression and metastasis. Our mission is to establish targeting of the extracellular matrix as a viable therapeutic approach in the treatment of solid cancers.

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News: Anti-fibrotic LOX family inhibitor program to progress to Phase Ib trial

Thomas R. Cox, Oct 2019

Following a successful Phase Ia trial of their oral anti-fibrotic systemic LOX inhibitor, Pharmaxis are now moving into a Phase Ib multiple ascending dose (MAD) study in healthy volunteers.

This is an exciting time for the Matrix and Metastasis team as we have been collaborating closely with Pharmaxis recently in developing a pre-clinical portfolio to help build a case for potentially transitioning this compound through to a clinical trial in pancreatic cancer patients. Pharmaxis is already seeking to progress this compound in the myelofibrosis space, and so working with our team, we are exploring the potential for this exciting anti-fibrotic compound in other cancer settings.

Pharmaxis Systemic LOX inhibitor

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Publication: CAF Subpopulations: A New Reservoir of Stromal Targets in Pancreatic Cancer

Thomas R. Cox, Oct 2019

CAF Subpopulations: A New Reservoir of Stromal Targets in Pancreatic Cancer

Working together with A/Prof Paul Timpson’s lab, we are pleased to announce that our recent review on targetting CAFs in pancreatic cancer has just been published in Trends In Cancer.

In this work we explore how different aspects of CAF heterogeneity are defined and how these manifest in multiple cancers, with a focus on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

Mechanisms of CAF Heterogeneity

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