Lister Fellow Dr. Susana Godinho Publishes New Research on the ‘Neighbouring Effect’

Lister Fellow Dr. Susana Godinho Publishes New Research on the ‘Neighbouring Effect’

Susana Godhino

We are pleased to announce the publication of important new research by Lister Fellow Dr. Susana Godhino on the behaviour of certain cancer cells and the changes they undergo in order to invade neighbouring cells in the body.

The spread of cancer cells around the body is called metastasis and is one of the most serious aspects of this group of conditions.

Metastasis is also commonly cited as one the major contributing factors to cancer deaths, as the disease can spread to vulnerable organs and systems.

In a new paper published in Developmental Cell, Dr. Godinho and her team have shown that certain cancer cells are not only prone to metastasis but are also able to change the behaviour of neighbouring cells to make them more likely to metastasise also.

Susana Godinho Developmental Cell

The paper, entitled Oxidative Stress in Cells with Extra Centrosomes Drives Non-Cell-Autonomous Invasion, provides evidence that cancer cells that with a greater than normal number of ‘centrosomes’ are more likely to exhibit this ‘neighbouring effect’ than those with fewer.

Centrosomes help provide cells with structure, regulate normal cell division, and are also sites where microtubules are arranged. The abnormality leading to an increased number of centrosomes has been found in a variety of cancers including breast and pancreatic.

By testing conditioned media of from specially formulated human cell lines Dr. Godinho’s team were able to demonstrate the mechanism by which cancer cells with an abundance of centrosomes lead to cell invasion in 3D and zebrafish models. This understanding adds to our knowledge of the multiple factors which induce invasion in nearby cells and lead to the spread of cancer in the body.

It has been found that only a fraction of cells in a normal tumour will contain the centrosomal abnormality, but due to their ability to cause nearby cells to metastasise (growing the tumour and spreading cancer to new organs and tissues) this research suggests that targeting these cells could have a broader impact in therapies.

Dr. Godinho is a Senior lecturer at the Centre for Molecular Oncology in Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and was awarded a Lister Research Prize in 2016. She was also named “cell scientist to watch” by the Journal of Cell Science in February of 2018.

We have previously written about Dr. Godinho’s research into centrosome amplification and are delighted to hear about her recent advances in the field.