Tracking cancer as it spreads
About Erik Sahai
Dr Erik Sahai is an energetic young researcher who heads the Tumour Cell Biology Lab at our Cancer Research UK London Research Institute. He is an expert in how cancer spreads, also known as metastasis. Most deaths from cancer are caused by the disease spreading, so understanding the process is vital. Dr Sahai's groundbreaking research will open new doors to finding ways to stop cancer in its tracks and improve survival for patients.
Out of the billions of cancer cells that make up a tumour, very few will break away, spread and grow into new tumours elsewhere in the body. This means that cancer spread is difficult to study - a bit like finding and understanding a moving needle in a large haystack. Dr Sahai is using cutting-edge microscopy techniques to watch tiny cancer cells as they move and uncover clues about the mysteries of cancer cell spread.
In 2009, Dr Sahai made a pioneering discovery finding genes whose activity could be blocked by drugs to stop the spread of breast cancer. He also won the prestigious Hooke medal, which is awarded to emerging leaders in cell biology in the UK, and was selected as an EMBO Young Investigator in 2008.
Watch this video to find out more about Dr Sahai's work on how breast cancer cells spread: