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Tissue Transmigration Training Network

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Training to conquer terminal disease

An EU-funded research project has developed and completed an interdisciplinary training programme for cell biologists. The courses focus on cardiovascular and cancer-related diseases, leading causes of death and disability.


There are three underlying causes of cardiovascular disease and cancer — cell adhesion, migration and degradation of the environment outside cells, the extracellular matrix (ECM). As an interdisciplinary approach is required, the 'Tissue transmigration training network' (T3NET project has trained European scientists in cutting-edge techniques in all these areas. Twelve PhD and two post-doc students took part in an initiative spanning all EU countries as well as Israel. They made significant progress in understanding cell invasion and ECM degradation by various cell types. In particular, they focused on the biochemistry affecting cell protrusions that invade the ECM in cancer cells. Invadopodia and podosomes are necessary for invasion and migration. Using proteomics and gene expression, the researchers have investigated the molecules behind the formation and function of podosomes and invadapodia in a variety of cells. Proteins include WASP, LSP-1, MMP-12 and TGFbeta 1. Of particular note is the development of cell culture media that mimic the physical properties of ECM much better than in conventional plastic culture dishes. Other projects using this new technology have investigated stress within ECM due to TGFbeta 1 release. Overall there could be applications in wound healing for the new protocol. Aided by advanced imaging and nanopatterned surfaces, the scientists investigated cell adhesion and migration. Using these models, they observed the individual and collective invasion of cancer cells through 3D ECM both in vitro and in vivo. In total 43 peer-reviewed articles have been published with T3NET support and there are more in the pipeline. T3NET papers have been presented at major conferences throughout Europe, notably the 5th Invadosome meeting in Nijmegen, the Netherlands in 2013. The website is constantly updated with news, press releases and summaries of results to help the general public understand T3NET research.


Training, cardiovascular disease, cancer, extracellular matrix, invadopodia, podosome, proteomics, nanopatterns

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