The focus of the Cell Survival laboratory, Kinghorn Cancer Centre/Garvan Institute, is to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in tumour cell survival. Cell survival underlies every stage of tumour progression from the initiating event, tumour growth, localised invasion and metastasis and finally during the acquisition of chemotherapeutic resistance. These mechanisms can arise from the tumour cell itself (intrinsic) or act in concert with the microenvironment (extrinsic). Dr. Oakes has an established track record in understanding the cues that regulate mammary/breast development, differentiation and survival providing the foundations for this understanding. The over-arching aim of this laboratory is to discover new therapeutic strategies capable of reeducating breast cancer cells to die and respond to therapy and to subsequently translate these discoveries to cancers arising from other organs. 

Selected Publications

Young AI, Law AM, Castillo L, Chong S, Cullen HD, Koehler M, Herzog S, Brummer T, Lee EF, Fairlie WD, Lucas MC, Herrmann D, Allam A, Timpson P, Watkins DN, Millar EK, O'Toole SA, Gallego-Ortega D, Ormandy CJ and Oakes SR. MCL-1 inhibition provides a new way to suppress breast cancer metastasis and increase sensitivity to dasatinib. Breast Cancer Res. 2016 Dec 8;18(1):125.

Piggin CL, Roden DL, Gallego-Ortega D, Lee HJ, Oakes SR, Ormandy SR ELF5 Isoform Expression is Tissue-Specific and Significantly Altered in Cancer. 2016 Breast Cancer Research 2016 Jan 7;18(1):4

Gallego-Ortega D, Ledger A, Roden D, Magenau A, Law AMK, Kikhtyak ZO, Cho C, Allerdice SL, Lee HJ, Valdes-Mora F, Young AIJ, Lee BW , Kaplan W, Salomon R, Piggin C, Hermann D, Conway J, Rabinovich B, Millar E, Oakes SR, Chtanova T, Swarbrick A, Naylor MJ, O’Toole S, Timpson P, Gee JMW, Ellis I, Clark SJ  and Ormandy CJ. The ETS transcription factor ELF5 drives lung metastasis in luminal breast cancer via recruitment of Gr-1+CD11b+ myeloid derived suppressor cells. 2015 PLOS Biology Dec 30;13(12)

Hilton HN, Doan TB, Graham JD, Oakes SR, Silvestri A, Santucci N, Kantimm S, Huschtscha LI, Ormandy CJ, Funder JW, Simpson ER, Kuczek ES, Leedman PJ, Tilley WD, Fuller PJ, Muscat GEO, Clarke CL. Acquired convergence of hormone signaling in breast cancer: ER and PR transition from functionally distinct in normal breast to predictors of metastatic disease. 2014. Oncotarget 5(18), 8651

Oakes SR, Gallego-Ortega D and Ormandy CJ. The mammary cellular hierarchy 2014. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 71 (22), 4301-4324. 

Gallego-Ortega D, Oakes SR, Lee HJ, Piggin CL and Ormandy CJ. Elf5, normal mammary development, and the heterogeneous phenotypes of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Management 2013 2(6):489-498 

O’Toole SA, Beith JM, Millar EKA, West R, McLean A, Cazet A, Swarbrick A and Oakes SR. Therapeutic targets in triple negative breast cancer. Journal of Clinical Pathology 2013; 66(6):530-42

Oakes SR, Vaillant F, Lim E, Lee L, Breslin K, Feleppa F, Deb S, Ritchie ME, Takano E, Ward T, Fox SB, Generali D, Smyth GK, Strasser A, Huang DC, Visvader JE, Lindeman GJ. Sensitization of BCL-2 expressing breast tumors to chemotherapy by the BH3 mimetic ABT-737. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012; 109(8): 2766-71.

Bouras T, Pal B, Vaillant F, Harburg G, Asselin-Labat ML, Oakes SR, Lindeman GJ, Visvader JE. Notch Signaling Regulates Mammary Stem Cell Function and Luminal Cell-Fate Commitment. Cell Stem Cell, 2008; 9 (3): 429-441.

Oakes SR, Naylor MJ, Asselin-Labat ML, Blazek KD, Gardiner-Garden M, Hilton HN, Kazlauskas M, Pritchard MA, Chodosh LA, Pfeffer PL, Lindeman GJ, Visvader JE, Ormandy CJ. The Ets transcription factor Elf5 specifies mammary alveolar cell fate. Genes Dev. 2008; 1;22(5):581-6.

More Garvan Publications

Staff in the Group

Dr Adelaide Young

Research Officer

Sabrina Chong

Honours Student

Lesley Castillo

Research Assistant

Sandra George

UROP Student

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