Internship on non-proliferating ‘dormant’ disseminated cancer cells (DCCs)

Medical Sciences, Natural Sciences
United States
New York
1 Sep, 2019 to 29 Feb, 2020
31 Aug, 2019

General information

6 months

Project: Characterization of Uveal Melanoma Dormant Disseminated Cancer Cell Biology

Cancer metastases is a leading cause for patient death that has been traditionally understudied compared with primary tumours. Disseminated cancer cells (DCCs) can leave the primary tumour at very early stages, seed future metastases and remind dormant for years, until some change “awakens” DCCs causing metastasis. To understand the mechanisms of DCCs dormancy is critical to design durable therapies for cancer patients[1],[2]. Dormant DCCs lay in quiescence and cannot be eradicated by chemotherapy and common mitogenic pathway targeted therapies, as these are turned off.

Uveal Melanoma (UM) is the most common adult intraocular malignancy and a relevant model of prolonged cancer dormancy. 50% of UM patients, treated for primary tumours, succumb to liver metastases up to 15 years later[3]. Standard therapies fail in UM and there are no specific therapies, highlighting an urgent need for effective treatments3,[4]. Inhibiting mechanisms that promote UM dormant DCCs survival or that cause an irreversible dormant state will allow treatments to be long-term effective2. Identifying these mechanisms will also provide prognostic markers to determine whether DCCs are or not dormant and will inform on outcome and therapy response2. Importantly, this will help to detect minimal residual dormant disease after therapy, with the goal of eradicating it. These findings may also be applicable to other cancers.

Objectives (1) to understand the mechanistic basis of UM dormancy, and (2) to design effective treatment options to prevent and treat metastasis.

The laboratory is happy to help the student to apply for specific scholarships and fellowships to conduct this internship. Starting date is flexible. To apply for this internship opportunity, or for more information, contact [email protected].

No financial compensation
Years of Experience required: 


Cancer  Biology  Cell Biology  Dormancy  Uveal Melanoma  

Additional Information

Bibliography: [1] Hosseini H, et al. Early dissemination seeds metastasis in breast cancer. Nature. 2016. [2] Sosa MS, et al. Mechanisms of disseminated cancer cell dormancy: an awakening field. Nat Rev Cancer. 2014;14(9):611-622. [3] Singh AD, et al. Uveal melanoma: trends in incidence, treatment, and survival. Ophthalmology. 2011;118(9):1881-1885. [4] Chua V, et al. Novel therapeutic strategies and targets in advanced uveal melanoma. Curr Opin Oncol. 2018;30(2):134-141.
English: Independent User B2
Level of Studies: