The winning image of the month of July 2017 in the field of cancer research, published by the EACR – The European Association for Cancer Research, belongs to the researcher of the Institute of Biological and Ecological Sciences of the Faculty of Science of the P. J. Šafárik University in Košice, RNDr. Martina Šemeláková, PhD.
The EACR is Europe’s professional membership association for those working and studying in cancer research, with over 10,000 members worldwide.
Its mission is “The advancement of cancer research for the public benefit: from basic research to prevention, treatment and care”. The aim of the “Image of the Month” is to promote the research of EACR members, as well as encourage discussion and the exchange of ideas within the EACR community.
Microscopes, staining tools and other technology are enabling researchers to capture images that are not only scientifically illuminating, but also fascinating and even beautiful to observe.
Image of the Month of July 2017 was captured by Martina Šemeláková, a researcher of the Faculty of Science of the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Slovakia. Martina captured this stunning image while studying in the Department of Cell and Molecular Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics at the Medical University of South Carolina in the USA. It depicts actin filaments visualised in SCC9 cells in head and neck cancer with overexpressed NEDD9 protein.
Altered (typically elevated) expression of NEDD9 is strongly associated with cancer. NEDD9 is rarely if ever mutated, but frequently shows altered expression or phosphorylation (associated with increased activity) in pathological conditions including immune cell dysfunction and cancer. NEDD9 overexpression is documented to occur and in some cases links the process of tumorigenesis of many different malignancies. Several studies have considered the potential value of NEDD9 as a therapeutic target or therapeutic guide. Because of lack of a kinase domain, or any defined catalytic domain, and because it is entirely intracellular, NEDD9 is a difficult molecule to target. Because NEDD9 serves as a scaffolding molecule for other signalling proteins that play significant roles in cancer development, the effects of NEDD9 overexpression in supporting metastasis could in theory be mitigated by inhibition of its downstream targets. Consideration of NEDD9 as a biomarker for therapeutic response is a promising research direction.