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Neta Erez, PhD

Neta Erez, PhD

Grant Status

Tel Aviv University

Grant Type
Project Grant

Project Title
Uncovering Stromal and Immune Co-Evolution in the Microenvironment of Bone Metastasis

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Bone Cancers, Breast Cancer, Cancer Metastasis, Immunology and Immunotherapy, Microenvironment

About the Investigator:

Dr. Erez studies the biology of tumor metastasis. The main goal of her research is to characterize the
communication between tumor cells and their microenvironment that can be targeted by novel therapeutics. She began her academic career at the Weizmann Institute of Science, where she received her PhD in molecular cell biology. Following her postdoctoral training at UCSF, she returned to Tel Aviv University, where she is an Associate Professor. She is the former Chair of the Pathology Department and the current Vice President of the Israeli Society for Cancer Research (ISCR).

About the Research:

Mortality from breast cancer is almost always a result of tumor metastasis. Most patients with advanced disease experience metastasis to the bone, so understanding the biology of tumor metastasis is a highly significant challenge in cancer research today. Non-cancerous cells that surround tumors and metastases provide a microenvironment that is crucial in supporting tumor growth and protecting tumors from the immune response. How the tumor microenvironment in the bone facilitates and supports metastasis is largely unresolved.

The main goal of this study is to uncover the dynamic changes in the bone microenvironment that orchestrate the formation of a hospitable metastatic niche for breast cancer metastasis. To do this, Dr. Erez will analyze stromal and immune cells in the bone microenvironment in mouse models of bone metastasis from breast cancer, as well as in patient samples of women with breast cancer bone metastasis. This unique comprehensive approach will enable her group to systematically investigate, for the first time, the diverse functional landscape of the bone metastatic microenvironment. This knowledge is expected to result in the discovery of actionable targets for intervention. Dr. Erez and her team will apply pharmacological and genetic tools to validate these targets, and carry out pre-clinical trials of strategies designed to inhibit metastasis of breast cancer. Understanding the early events that support formation of metastases and identification of therapeutic targets will provide the foundation for clinical strategies for prevention of metastatic relapse in patients with breast cancer.


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