The Programme on Biology of Systems and Metastasis aims to understand and prevent cancer.
Understanding how cancerous cells initially develop, escape the organisms’ defense mechanisms, how they grow and how they metastasize, implies understanding the biology of different systems, like the vascular system, the immune system, the lymphatic system, the endocrine system, the nervous system. It implies understanding changes in communication between cells (within and across organs) and changes in metabolism that permit cells to metastasize and tumors to grow.
Furthermore, it also implies understanding how these processes change with time. Cancer increases its prevalence with age and so understanding the changes in the processes of cell communication and metabolism during aging will likely give insight into permissive processes in cancer formation.
The goal of the Champalimaud Foundation is establishing a new program focused in investigating the biology of the different systems of the organism across time, and how they interact in health and in disease. The ultimate goal is to understand and prevent cancer, and especially metastasis. This organismic view and integrative approach is rather unique and can hopefully bring new insights and therapeutic approaches to the problem of cancer.