Tumors are communicating organs where the cancer cells constantly communicate with the neighbouring cells within the tumor. Neighbouring cells also called the tumor stroma, is a rich provider of factors that collectively sustain tumor cell growth. This reactive stroma evidently contributes to many, if not all, aspects of tumor initiation, growth and progression and is an underestimated source of therapeutic targets and biomarkers with prognostic or predictive potential.
The stroma consists of different cellular subtypes, with distinct functions. To be able to identify new therapeutic targets or biomarkers affecting the tumour, it is important to define and analyse the cellular subsets in the tumor stroma, rather than treating the tumor as a bulk of cells. To identify such cells, high-resolution studies of basic biology is combined with pre-clinical studies and molecular oncology, an approach that is further facilitated by the different expertise within the MAD for Cancer Program.