Publication: Targeting promiscuous heterodimerization overcomes innate resistance to ERBB2 dimerization inhibitors in breast cancer

Thomas R. Cox, Mar 2019

Targeting promiscuous heterodimerization overcomes innate resistance to ERBB2 dimerization inhibitors in breast cancer

We have just published a new paper in Breast Cancer Research in collaboration with lead researcher Dr. David Croucher from the Garvan Institute, looking at how and why ERBB2 (HER2) positive breast cancer cells develop resistance to targeted therapies such as trastuzumab (Herceptin™).

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Publication: Three-dimensional organotypic matrices from alternative collagen sources as pre-clinical models for cell biology


Thomas R. Cox, Dec 2017

Three-dimensional organotypic matrices from alternative collagen sources as pre-clinical models for cell biology

Our new paper on alternative collagen sources for 3D organotypic cultures for use as pre-clinical models is now out in Scientific Reports


Cellular interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM) occur in a three-dimensional (3D) context and this essential aspect of the tumour microenvironment can lead to altered sensitivity to therapeutics and even act as a barrier to their delivery. This key feature is often overlooked in pre-clinical studies and is likely one of the central factors contributing to the high attrition rates of lead compounds within the pharmaceutical industry. This organotypic platform allows assessment of lead compounds in both the stromal compartment or in a 3D co-culture setting using large scale collagen preparations from alternative sources.

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Publication: Established Models and New Paradigms for Hypoxia-Driven Cancer-Associated Bone Disease


Thomas R. Cox, Nov 2017

Established Models and New Paradigms for Hypoxia-Driven Cancer-Associated Bone Disease

Our new review on the how hypoxia is important in cancer-associated bone disease has just been published in Calcified Tissue International.


What is Hypoxia and why is it important in cancer?

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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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PostDoc position available to start late 2017

Thomas R. Cox, Aug 2017

Matrix and Metastasis Lab Hiring

We are seeking a full-time dedicated PostDoc to work in the Cancer Division Matrix & Metastasis Group headed by Dr. Thomas Cox.  The group combines the use of 3D models of cancer with novel state-of-the-art imaging approaches to reveal how the extracellular matrix 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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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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Publication: Transient tissue priming via ROCK inhibition uncouples pancreatic cancer progression, sensitivity to chemotherapy, and metastasis

Thomas R. Cox, Apr 2017

ROCK-ing pancreatic cancer to the core

Our new paper on short-term pulsed treatment, or ‘priming’ as a treatment strategy to boost chemotherapy has just been published in Science Translational Medicine.


STM Front Cover Vol 9 Issue 384 (Image: Timpson Laboratory, Garvan Institute)


The research, spearheaded by Dr. Paul Timpson and Dr. Marina Pajic here at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, has uncovered a promising new approach to treating pancreatic cancer. By targeting the tissue surrounding the tumour to make it ‘softer’, it leads to tumours being more responsive to chemotherapy.

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