About Us

Research in the Courtneidge laboratory seeks to define how cancers progress, metastasize, and respond to therapy, and to use this information to define novel therapeutic points of intervention. Current research in the laboratory focuses on three main areas. The first involves defining how the tyrosine kinase Src and its substrates, Tks4 and Tks5, are involved in invasive behavior. The Tks adaptors are required for the formation of invadopodia, which are protrusive membrane structures made by invasive cancer cells that spatially and temporally control pericellular proteolysis. In experimental systems, invadopodia can drive both tumor growth and metastasis of several human cancers, including melanoma and breast cancer. We seek to define the mechanism(s) by which this occurs, using both cell based analyses and genetically engineered mouse models of cancer. We are also using high throughput screening strategies to identify and validate molecular targets in invadopodia, and developing small molecule inhibitors of these targets.

Our second research area of interest is elucidating the mechanism by which tumor cells escape from dormancy to cause metastatic disease, often decades after the initial tumor is removed, particularly in the case of breast cancer.

Finally, we are focusing on the interaction between Src and the estrogen receptor (ER) in ER+ breast cancer. Our goal is to define why Src activity is required for estrogen-stimulated growth of ER+ cells, and to determine whether Src inhibitors would have benefit in the treatment of defined subsets of ER+ disease.