Normal mouse mammary glands and stained glands.

Mariia Yuneva : Oncogenes and Tumour Metabolism Laboratory

We study how cancer cells use changes to metabolism to help them survive.

Every minute, countless chemical reactions happen inside every human body cell. Collectively these reactions are called the cell’s metabolism.

Cancer cells and healthy cells have different metabolisms. Cancer cells need energy and nutrients to support rapid tumour growth. This means they are in competition with healthy cells. Different kinds of cancer cells compete in different ways.

The part of the body a tumour grows in and the genetic information it holds both influence metabolism.

Nutrients and oxygen can become limited in fast growing tumours so cancer cells have to adapt their metabolism to survive. Changes in metabolism could also help cancer cells overcome the body’s own attempts to stop tumours growing.

Our lab is trying to find out how different cancer cells change their metabolism to support rapid growth and survival.

We focus on relationships between the tissue a tumour comes from, genetics, cancer cell metabolism and the rest of the body.

Genetic and metabolic research techniques help us to understand how specific genes influence metabolism, how this can lead to cancer and how changes in metabolism can be targeted to kill tumours.

Our ultimate goal is to identify tumour weak spots that have potential as targets for cancer therapy.