Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
It is well established that interactions between cancer cells with and non-cancerous cells in the tumor microenvironment and/or with soluble factors released from these cells, drive tumor progression towards metastasis.
Drivers of metastasis are cells or molecules whose activity is required for the targeted migration of tumor cells to the secondary target organ and for their survival and propagation within this organ.
Metastasis drivers may be grouped into 2 major groups: Drivers that are intrinsic to tumor cells and drivers that originate in the microenvironment of the secondary target organ. Both types of drivers are candidates to serve as targets for therapy.
Here we report on the identification and function of CCR4, a tumor-associated driver of melanoma brain metastasis.
A key initial event in brain metastasis is the rapid activation of microglial cells. Molecular signals that activate microglia cells induce the release of cytokines which take part in shaping the malignancy phenotype of brain metastasizing tumor cells. Microglial cells function thus as microenvironmental drivers of melanoma brain metastasis.
This study was supported by The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation (Needham, MA).
Dr. Isaac P. Witz is the Editor in Chief of Cancer Microenvironment, the official journal of the International Cancer Microenvironment Society. Dr. Witz obtained a Master’s (1959) and Ph.D. (1965) degree (Cancer Immunology) from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. From 1965 to 1968 he was a post-doctoral fellow at Roswell Park Memorial Institute, buffalo N.Y. in 1968 he formed his own lab at Tel Aviv University promoting to Professor of Immunology in 1975.
Isaac Witz held visiting faculty positions at: University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA, Dept. of Tumor Biology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, Center for Molecular Medicine and Immunology, Newark, NJ, USA. Lab. of Tumor Cancer Biology, Div. of Cancer Treatment, NCI, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA, John Wayne Cancer Institute, Santa Monica, CA, USA. Institute for Cancer Research, University of Vienna, Austria, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA..
At Tel Aviv University he served as member of the Board of Governors, Department Chair of Microbiolgy, Dean of the faculty of Life Sciences, Vice President for Research & Development. He was Founding chair of the Tel Aviv University Cancer Biology Research Center, the Department of Cell Research & Immunolgy and The Ela Kodesz Institute for Research on Cancer Development and Prevention. Isaac Witz served as Council Member of the European Association of Cancer Research, President, Israel Immunological Society, Council Member of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) and President – Israel Association for Cancer Research. At present he serves on the Steerring Committee of the German-Israeli Cooperation in Cancer research, as Scientific Adviser – Dan David Prize, Tel Aviv University and as President, International Cancer Microenvironment Society.
Witz received several awards including Fogarty Scholar in Residence, NIH, Membership of the World Academy of Art and Science, The Jacqueline Seroussi Award for Cancer Research (with Judah Folkman), Life Time Achievement Award for Scientific Contributions, The Institute of Human Virology of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The scientific activities of Witz focus on the inter-relationships between tumor cells and the tumor microenvironment. He studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms of site specific metastasis as it relates to melanoma brain metastasis and lung metastasis in neuroblastoma. He aims to characterize molecules that guide tumor cells to site specific organ sites; molecules that sustain tumor cells and promote their propagation in the metastatic microenvironment and molecules that regulate, positively or negatively, the progression of dormant micro-metastatic cells to overt metastasis.
Research interest: The cross talk between the microenvironments of metastatic sites and cancer cells forming metastasis and micro-metastasis in these sites. Editor: Editor, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications