Cells behaving badly: how faulty signals can lead to cancer
About Richard Treisman
Dr Richard Treisman is the director of our London Research Institute, and is internationally recognised for his pioneering research into cell biology. He is unravelling the molecular signals that cause changes in cells, which can ultimately lead to cancer.
A healthy cell can’t become cancerous unless it gains certain ‘superpowers’, such as the ability to grow out of control or move around the body. This can happen if a cell receives molecular signals that change the way it behaves.
Dr Treisman and his team are uncovering how these signals can alter the way a cell’s genetic instructions are interpreted. Signals from outside a cell can activate molecular 'switches' called transcription factors. These transcription factors stick to DNA, turning on genes that alter a cell’s behaviour - for example, allowing it to multiply more quickly.
The team is untangling the complex signalling networks in healthy cells, and finding out how they can go wrong in cancer. This research will give a better understanding of how cell behaviour is controlled, and could lead to new ways to tackle cancer in the future.