CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has won a $6 million U.S. National Cancer Institute grant to research the microenvironment of tumor cells.
"It has been clear for a long time that tumor cells do not proliferate and progress in isolation -- rather, they are dependent on support from their surroundings, which include extracellular matrix and various supporting (or stromal) cells," said Professor Richard Hynes, the principal investigator for the grant. Similarly, he said, tumor cells can also be controlled by elements in their environment, including a variety of cell types of the immune system.
"Interest in these 'microenvironmental' influences on tumor growth and progression has been growing in recent years, and technologies to study these interactions between tumor cells and their surroundings have advanced," said Hynes, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
Projects through the grant will be awarded during a 5-year period.