Hello everyone! My name is Sami Khan
and I’m an MSc candidate in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Western University. I work under the supervision of Dr. Alison Allan at London Regional Cancer Program.
The main focus of our lab is breast cancer metastasis, the process by which cancerous cells can leave the breast and establish tumours in other organs. Metastasis accounts for over 90 per cent of all breast cancer-related deaths by directly impairing function of organs such as the lungs. Over a century ago, Dr. Stephen Paget postulated that like a plant seed which requires rich, nutritious soil to grow, breast cancer cells need specific factors present within an organ to be able to survive and develop into a tumour.
My work over the past year has involved researching E- and P-selectin, two proteins present in the lung that appear to be involved in attracting breast cancer cells to this organ. With the promising results we have seen so far, we intend to perform further experiments to evaluate whether blocking these proteins could prevent lung metastasis of breast cancer. Successfully limiting lung metastasis could not only reduce the number of deaths caused by breast cancer, but also allow more patients to live long, fulfilling lives.
Thank you to BCSC for your trainee support!
-Sami Khan, MSc Candidate
Pamela Greenaway-Kohlmeier Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit, London Health Sciences Centre