Stopping Cancer’s Deadly Spread

When my friend Paul lost his mom to cancer in 2014, he made a pledge to memorialize her death. As an avid bike rider, Paul is dedicating a cross-continental bike ride to his mom; He’s also raising money for our research along the way. Our lab studies metastasis — how cancer spreads. Over 90% of cancer patients die from metastasis. I lost both my uncle and grandmother to cancer, and both of them died from metastasis. That’s why I’m studying metastasis.

Our research studies the genes that promote metastasis in dogs and humans to find better treatments for two species at once! Our laboratory pioneered the development of imaging tools to watch cancer cells convert from non-metastatic to metastatic during cancer progression. Check out our published paper describing these new ways to watch cancer metastasize. 

Because we are able to watch metastasis as it happens, we can identify genes we think are responsible for these changes. Now, we are trying to test if these genes can be shut off to stop cancer from spreading. My hope is that we can stop metastasis and prevent cancer deaths.

The long-term goal of our work is to find better treatments for metastatic cancers. This project will help us take the next step in accomplishing our long-term goal by allowing us to see how metastatic cells take hold in distant organs and start to grow. If we can figure out the signals that make them grow in distant organs, then we can use drugs that stop those signals and kill the metastatic cells before they colonize.  Please donate and join us in our quest to find better treatments for metastatic cancer.

Thank you  for your support,

Jason Somarelli
Research Associate
Duke University Medical Center