UB Researcher is Part of $13 Million Grant from NCI to Cornell University to Establish a New Microenvironment and Metastasis Research Center

By Lois Baker

Release Date: October 26, 2009 This content is archived.


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Gail Seigel is part of a group of researchers taking part in the new Center on the Microenvironment and Metastasis.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Gail Seigel, PhD, research assistant professor in the University at Buffalo Department of Physiology and Biophysics, will be part of a group of researchers taking part in the new National Cancer Institute-funded Center on the Microenvironment and Metastasis, which will be headquartered at Cornell University.

It is one of 12 new research centers across the nation announced today by the NCI. The grant is for $13 million over five years.

Cornell will serve as the lead institution in a partnership with the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and UB. The center will focus on using nanobiotechnology and other related physical science approaches to advance the research on cancer.

Seigel will be involved in one of the center's three key projects -- adhesion of tumor cells in the vascular microenvironment -- led by Cornell researchers Michael King, professor of biomedical engineering, and David Nanus, professor of medicine and urology and co-chief of hematology and medical oncology at Weill-Cornell.

Seigel, who also is affiliated with the UB Center for Hearing and Deafness in the College of Arts and Sciences, will collaborate on a project that will examine adhesive factors and the interaction between blood cells and cancer cells that that are hypothesized to play a role in tumor progression and metastasis.

"Results from these studies may lead to the development of new strategies to block the spread of tumor cells throughout the body," said Seigel.

Harold Craighead, Cornell professor of engineering and director of Cornell's Nanobiotechnology Center, will serve as the principal investigator and director of the new center. Barbara Hempstead, professor of medicine and co-chief of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Weill Cornell, will serve as the senior co-investigator.

"Our center will be organized to unravel cancer's complexity, using methods derived from the physical sciences and engineering, to further understand how cancer travels through the human body," said Craighead. "The research may help identify new drug possibilities to inhibit metastasis and tumor growth."

In addition to the project in which Seigel is involved, the grant is supporting two additional major projects: examining physiochemical transducers and their role in tumor angiogenesis, led by Cornell researchers Claudia Fischbach and Vivek Mittal; and physical and chemical cues in tumor cell migration, led by Cornell researchers Cynthia Reinhart-King and Paraskevi Giannakakou.

Ultimately, through coordinated development and testing of novel approaches to studying cancer processes, the network of centers is expected to generate new bodies of knowledge, in order to identify and define critical aspects of physics, chemistry and engineering that operate at all levels in cancer processes.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.