Hello, I'm Professor Isaac Witz,
head of the tumor microenvironment and metastasis research lab at
the Shmunis School of Biomedicine & Cancer Research at Tel Aviv University.
I am going to talk to you about the role of
the microenvironment in the progression of tumor cells towards metastasis.
The tumor microenvironment has become a very extensive research area.
Any single topic touched upon in this presentation would require a separate lecture.
Today's lecture will therefore only be an overview of this multi-disciplinary field.
To start, let me take you back to the 70s and 80s of the last century.
The cancer research field at that time,
was dominated by the concept that oncogenes and
tumor-suppressor genes are the only and exclusive causes of cancer.
Let me read you one sentence from a paper published in '83 by Michael Bishop,
who together with Harold Varmus was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of oncogenes:
"A common set of cellular genes may help to mediate
the genesis of all tumors, whatever their cause".
Please judge for yourself to what extent you agree with this statement.
The cancer-centric view did not provide
a satisfactory mechanism for the progression towards metastasis.
Two leading cancer geneticists,
the late Ruth Sager and Bert Vogelstein, raised this important issue.