Dr Caroline Hill
Dr Caroline Hill at the Francis Crick Institute is an expert on a group of molecules called growth factors – signals sent between cells that tell them when to multiply or when to stop growing, a bit like the green and red signals of a traffic light. If there are too many ‘green light’ growth factor molecules, or if cells respond over-enthusiastically to them, cells can start to multiply out of control, leading to cancer.
Dr Hill and her team are investigating an important growth factor called TGF beta, which normally tells cells when to stop multiplying. In cancer cells, the signalling process is faulty so they keep on growing. But in the later stages of tumour development, TGF beta can actually fuel the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Dr Hill and her team are studying TGF beta’s ‘split personality’ and how its messages are interpreted by cells, so they can develop innovative new treatments for cancer.