Margaret Frame : Cancer Research UK
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Margaret Frame

Researcher Margaret Frame profile image

How do cancer cells spread - and how can we stop them?

University of Edinburgh
Western General Hospital
Crewe Road South

Web: Lab website

Professor Margaret Frame and her team at University of Edinburgh are tackling one of the biggest challenges in cancer treatment - how to stop the disease spreading to other parts of the body. The researchers are investigating how cancer cells break away from a tumour and start moving, to find out how this process could be stopped.

Cells on the move

Cell movement is controlled by a number of different proteins - molecules inside cells that send messages telling cells to move or stay put.

Professor Frame is internationally recognised for her groundbreaking research on two 'messenger' proteins called Src and FAK, which play important roles in cell movement and are implicated in cancer spread.  These proteins are overactive in cancer cells, sending too many messages that encourage the cells to move and spread.

Professor Frame's team are studying how Src and FAK work in healthy cells and in cancer. They are investigating how signals from these proteins make cells stick to each other or break apart, and how they become overactive in cancer. 

Stopping cancer in its tracks

By understanding how these overactive proteins control the movement and spread of cancer cells, Professor Frame and her team hope to discover new ways to target cancer cells and develop new drugs to treat the disease.

Finding ways to block the messages coming from Src and FAK could halt the spread of cancer, providing powerful ways to treat the disease in the future.

Visit MyProjects to donate directly to Professor Frame's research.

Professor Frame and her team are studying the regulation and role of adhesion-linked tyrosine kinases during cell transformation and cancer progression. Specifically, the mechanisms by which the Src family kinases, and their functional partner focal adhesion kinase (FAK), control the dynamic regulation of the adhesion/de-adhesion cycle and cell motility are being elucidated.

Other research projects by Margaret Frame

Science Committee Programme
Funding period: 01 May 2013 to 30 April 2018