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Live imaging inflammation in wound healing and cancer

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We model various aspects of tissue repair in several genetically tractable model organisms from the fruitfly, Drosophila, through to mice. We know that inflammation causes scarring and is aberrant in chronic wounds and so we use Drosophila and the translucent zebrafish, which are both amenable to live imaging and mathematical modelling, to make movies of immune cell migration into the wound and to dissect the genetics of inflammatory cell recruitment towards tissue damage. Recently, we have also begun investigating aspects of cancer inflammation, in particular parallels between the wound damage attractants and the signals that draw immune cells to early clones of transformed cells before they progress to cancers. We find that clones of transformed cells deprived of immune cells proliferate at a slower rate suggesting that growth signals, which include prostaglandins, are delivered to the transformed cells by immune cells. Since surgery is one of the most effective means of treating cancer we have begun to use zebrafish to model cancer surgery, in particular investigating how the wound inflammatory response impacts on immune cell recruitment to nearby transformed cells and what might be the downstream consequences of this. Most recently we have also begun to investigate how adipocytes and obesity might link into wound repair and cancer.

This talk is part of the Foster Talks series.

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