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2016 MJBissell Biosketch

Bennett Lecture Poster Long – Mina Bissell


The BC Cancer Foundation and GrasPods are pleased to be hosting Dr.
 Mina Bissell from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as this 
year's Bennett Family Distinguished Lecturer Series speaker on Monday 
March 14th, 12:00-1:00pm, in the Diamond Lecture Theatre at the BC 
Cancer Research Centre (BCCRC - 675, West 10th Ave).
Dr. Bissell
 is a pioneer in the study of the role of tissue microenvironment on 
cell function, specifically in the context of breast cancer. Her radical
 idea that the 3-D matrix surrounding the cells and the signals that 
they receive may be as important as genetic abnormalities within the 
cells for the appearance of cancer has gained prominence in the last 
decade, and given hope that understanding and normalizing the 
microenvironment of malignant cells may halt or reverse the growth of 
tumours. See the abstract of her talk below.
Dr. Bissell is a 
Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the 
Guggenheim Fellowship, the Mellon Award from the University of 
Pittsburgh, the Eli Lilly/Clowes Award of the American Association for 
Cancer Research, and the Medal of Honor from the American Cancer 
Society, amongst others. A biosketch of Dr. Bissell is attached.
You can also check out her TED Talk.
Please contact for any questions.
Why Don't we get More Cancer: "The critical role of Extracellular Matrix and Microenvironment in metastasis and dormancy"
 is a tissue-specific disease.  Thus to understand malignancy, one must 
understand the normal tissue and the organ from which the malignant 
tumors develop. I will discuss the above within the context of the 
mammary gland and breast cancer.
To understand initiation of breast 
tumors one must consider the health of the entire organ within the 
context of the individual: the age of the individual and the medical 
condition, not only the cells that become or have become malignant but 
the entire tissue and the microenvironment of the cells that have been 
targeted to become tumors, and eventually the malignant tumors. This 
means one has to understand the organ architecture, the tissue context, 
the shape of the cells, the health of the surrounding cells, the immune 
status of the host. To understand metastasis of the breast, one needs to
 know how the tissue and organ developed and how the embryonic cells 
moved to make the tissue. To understand dormancy, one needs to learn how
 the cells in the normal tissue become quiescent and to understand drug 
resistance, one has to ask why and how the normal cells are much more 
resistant to therapy than the tumor cells?
To answer these questions 
has taken a lifetime. I will share this journey with you and I like to 
rename it: From laminins to lamin and P53 and back: How does a breast 
cell knows to be a breast and what happens when it forgets?

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