Professor Victoria Sanz-Moreno

BSc, MSc, PhD
Professor of Cancer Cell Biology
Cancer Research UK Senior Fellow and Cancer Research UK Werth Trust Fellow
Group Leader
Twitter
Research Focus

Our research focuses on how the cytoskeleton of cancer cells regulates transcriptional rewiring during tumour growth and dissemination. We aim to understand how such rewiring affects the tumour microenvironment.

Key Publications

WNT11-FZD7-DAAM1 signalling supports tumour initiating abilities and melanoma amoeboid invasion. Nat Commun (2020) 11(1):5315. PMID: 33082334

Myosin II reactivation and Cytoskeletal remodelling as a hallmark and a vulnerability in melanoma resistance. Cancer Cell (2020) 37(1):85-103. PMID: 31935375

Regional activation of Myosin II in cancer cells drives tumour progression via a secretory cross-talk with the immune microenvironment. Cell (2019) 176(4):757-774. PMID: 30712866

Reactivation of p53 by a cytoskeletal sensor to control the balance between DNA damage and tumour dissemination. J Natl Cancer Inst (2016) 108(1). PMID: 26464464

TGFb-induced transcription sustains amoeboid melanoma migration and dissemination. Curr Biol (2015) 16;25(22):2899-914. PMID: 26526369

Major Funding
  • 2018-2020- Barts Charity
  • 2017-2022- Cancer Research UK Senior Fellowship “Investigating Rho-kinase (ROCK) in melanoma progression and therapy response”
  • 2017-2019- The Harry J. Lloyd Charitable Trust “Understanding how cytoskeletal remodelling leads to drug resistance in melanoma”
Other Activities
  • 2018-present Member of The British Association for Cancer Research (BACR)
  • 2017-present Member of The British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB)
  • 2013-present Member of The Women of Influence Group, by Cancer Research UK
Research

Rho GTPases are molecular switches that control the cytoskeleton. Deregulation of Rho GTPases can result in aberrant function and disease, including cancer. The spreading of cancer cells from one part of the body to another, called metastasis, is one of the biggest causes of cancer death. The other major challenge in the clinic is drug resistance. In our lab we are studying how Rho GTPase signalling and cytoskeletal remodelling can control many processes: invasion and metastasis, tumour promoting inflammation and drug responses. We are particularly interested in understanding how cancer cells sense extracellular signals via their cytoskeleton and integrate the responses altering transcription. On the other hand, how cancer cells interact with the tumour microenvironment is crucial for tumour progression and dissemination. We aim to understand how this communication is controlled by the cytoskeleton of cancer cells.

The lab combines 'OMICs', molecular biology, microscopy in 3D matrices, co-culture systems, animal models and digital pathology in patient tissues to identify molecular determinants driven by Rho GTPase signalling that drive cancer progression and metastatic potential. Our ultimate goal is to define if manipulations in the cytoskeleton of cancer cells will lead to improved efficacy of current therapeutic approaches.

Other Activities
  • 2018-present Member of The British Association for Cancer Research (BACR)
  • 2017-present Member of The British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB)
  • 2013-present Member of The Women of Influence Group, by Cancer Research UK
Major Funding
  • 2018-2020- Barts Charity
  • 2017-2022- Cancer Research UK Senior Fellowship “Investigating Rho-kinase (ROCK) in melanoma progression and therapy response”
  • 2017-2019- The Harry J. Lloyd Charitable Trust “Understanding how cytoskeletal remodelling leads to drug resistance in melanoma”
Recent Publications

First-in-Human Study of AT13148, a Dual ROCK-AKT Inhibitor in Patients with Solid Tumors. McLeod R, Kumar R, Papadatos-Pastos D et al. Clin Cancer Res (2020) 26(2) 4777-4784
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32616501

Cancer Burden Is Controlled by Mural Cell-β3-Integrin Regulated Crosstalk with Tumor Cells Wong PP, Muñoz-Félix JM, Hijazi M et al. Cell (2020) 181(7) 1346-1363.e21

Cancer-associated fibroblasts: activin A adds another string to their bow Samain R, Sanz-Moreno V EMBO Molecular Medicine (2020) 12(7)

Myosin II Reactivation and Cytoskeletal Remodeling as a Hallmark and a Vulnerability in Melanoma Therapy Resistance Orgaz JL, Crosas-Molist E, Sadok A et al. Cancer Cell (2020) 37(7) 85-103.e9

PGC1a suppresses prostate cancer cell invasion through ERRA transcriptional control Valcarcel-Jimenez L, Macchia A, Crosas-Molist E et al. Cancer Research (2019) 79(7) 6153-6165

PAK4 Kinase Activity Plays a Crucial Role in the Podosome Ring of Myeloid Cells Foxall E, Staszowska A, Hirvonen LM et al. Cell Reports (2019) 29(7) 3385-3393.e6

Migrastatics: Redirecting R&D in Solid Cancer Towards Metastasis? Rosel D, Fernandes M, Sanz-Moreno V et al. Trends Cancer (2019) 5(2) 755-756
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31813449

Repurposing an anti-cancer agent for the treatment of hypertrophic heart disease Dukinfield M, Maniati E, Reynolds LE et al. Journal of Pathology (2019) 249(7) 523-535

Downregulation of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor in hepatocellular carcinoma facilitates Transforming Growth Factor-β-induced epithelial to amoeboid transition López-Luque J, Bertran E, Crosas-Molist E et al. Cancer Letters (2019) 464(7) 15-24

Regional Activation of Myosin II in Cancer Cells Drives Tumor Progression via a Secretory Cross-Talk with the Immune Microenvironment Georgouli M, Herraiz C, Crosas-Molist E et al. Cell (2019) 176(7) 757-774.e23

For additional publications, please click here
Team

Postdoctoral researchers in this group
Dr Eva Crosas-MolistDr Oscar Maiques, Dr Remi Samain

PhD students in this group
Leonie Kohlhammer, Samantha George, Jaume Barcelo, Yaiza Jung, Josh Martin

Research Assistant
Jo Monger

Biography

I received my first degree in chemistry and later a masters degree in biochemistry from the University of Oviedo in Spain, followed by a PhD in chemical sciences at the University of Cantabria. After a short postdoc in the same lab with a Lady Tata Memorial Trust Fellowship, I moved to the Institute of Cancer Research in London as a CRUK and Marie Curie Intra-european Fellow with Chris Marshall. In 2008, I received an EACR 40th Anniversary Research Award. In 2011 I established my lab with a CRUK Career Development Fellowship at King’s College London (Randall Centre for cell and molecular biophysics). In 2015, I was highly commended as CRUK Communications and Brand Ambassador for communicating science to the public. In 2017 I was awarded the BSCB Women in Cell Biology Early Career Award Medal. The same year I received a CRUK Senior Fellowship and I was badged CRUK Werth Trust Fellow. I joined Barts Cancer Institute as a Professor of Cancer Cell Biology in 2018.