The authorization committee of the German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved funding for a collaborative research center proposed by the University of Freiburg on the topic 'Control of Cell Motility in Morphogenesis, Tumor Invasion, and Metastatic Spread' starting on 1 January 2010. The Freiburg SFB 850 will receive a total of 9.4 million euros in the next four years plus a 20 percent program allowance for indirect costs. In the case of success, the SFB 850 is eligible to receive funding for up to 12 years. The rector of the university, Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, was delighted to hear the positive news: "That is a great success for Professor Peters and his entire interdisciplinary team. They deserve recognition for launching an outstanding project in the life sciences and enhancing the profile of the entire university." Professor Dr. Christoph Peters, head of the new SFB 850 and also dean of the Faculty of Medicine, is also excited: "We are very pleased with the DFG’s decision! Our success was made possible by fruitful cooperation between developmental biologists, tumor researchers, and clinicians. Our team aims to acquire fundamentally new knowledge about the mechanisms involved in the spreading of malignant tumors. The project will contribute to filling in a large region of uncharted territory on the map of tumor biology." Uncontrolled cell motility is one of the key characteristics of malignant tumor cells and their subsequent spread through the formation of metastases. Freiburg scientists from developmental biology and cancer research will combine forces in a scientific network in the new SFB 850 "Control of Cell Motility in Morphogenesis, Tumor Invasion, and Metastatic Spread" in order to better understand the molecular mechanisms of tumor cell invasion and the formation of metastases and develop new approaches for diagnosis and therapy. The team will focus especially on understanding the processes governing control and loss of control over physiological and pathological cell motility in the development of embryos and tissues as well as cell invasion and the spreading of tumors. In addition to researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Biology, the team also includes researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology in Freiburg. Further Information: Invasive growth and metastatic spread are the most complex characteristics of human tumors as they impact both autonomous and non-autonomous processes of tumor cells. At the same time, they are highly significant for clinical practice as most tumor patients die of the metastases of their tumor disease. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of tumor invasion and metastatic spread is thus of eminent importance for the development of new treatment strategies. An abnormal cell motility is one of the key characteristics of malignant tumor cells as it allows them to infiltrate neighboring tissue, spread throughout the body, and finally form metastases. Cell motility is regulated by central embryonic signaling paths. These paths also play a crucial role in the formation and proliferation of tumors, where they are activated by abnormal activation of their regulator molecules. This SFB initiative thus focuses on our understanding of control and loss of control over physiological and pathological cell motility in embryonic development and the morphogenesis of tissues as well as tumor invasion and metastatic spread. The unique innovative potential of this initiative thus consists in forming a scientific network which combines the expertise of developmental biologists and cancer researchers performing fundamental research with that of scientists performing translational research with the common goal of understanding the molecular mechanisms of tumor cell invasion and metastatic spread. The resulting knowledge gain will form the basis for limiting invasion and metastatic spread and ultimately developing new therapeutic strategies. The experimental background of the participating groups is broad, ranging from developmental biology to clinical cancer research. The integration of clinical research groups enables data collected for the project to be tested directly for clinical relevance within the structured context of the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Freiburg University Medical Center.