Frontiers of Science: Novel roles of ROCK-Myosin II in cancer


February 7, 2019    
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


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Professor Victoria Sanz-Moreno, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Host: Johanna Ivaska (

Prof Sanz-Moreno is a group leader at the Barts Cancer Institute in London (UK). She received her PhD in chemical sciences at the University of Cantabria. After a short postdoc in the same lab, she moved to the Institute of Cancer Research in London as a CRUK and Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow with Chris Marshall. In 2011, she established her own lab at King’s College London (Randall Centre for cell and molecular biophysics). In 2017, she was awarded the BSCB Women in Cell Biology Early Career Award Medal before joining the Barts Cancer Institute in 2018.

The Sanz-Moreno lab works on understanding how the cytoskeleton and Rho GTPase signalling in cancer cells promote tumour growth and dissemination by modulating transcription factors. Their ultimate goal is to establish whether manipulating the cancer cell cytoskeleton will lead to improved efficacy of current therapeutic approaches in patients via transcriptional reprogramming. The lab combines ‘OMICs’, state of the art microscopy in 3D matrices, molecular biology, animal models and digital pathology in patient tissues to identify molecular determinants driven by Rho GTPase signalling that correlate with cancer progression and metastatic potential.

Lab website:
Journal of Cell Biology interview with Prof Sanz-Moreno: People and ideas (2018)

Selected publications:
Muliaditan T, Okesola M, Caron J, Georgouli M, Gordon P, Lall S, Kuzeva D, Pedro L, Shields J, Gillettn C, Diebold S, Sanz-Moreno V, Ng T, Hoste E, Arnold J (2018) Tumour-associated macrophages exploit an innate wound healing response to facilitate metastasis. Nat Comm. 9(1):2951.

Pandya P, Orgaz JL and Sanz-Moreno V (2017) Actomyosin contractility in collective migration: May the force be with you. Special issue on “Cell Dynamics” Curr Opin Cell Biol, 48:87–96

Orgaz JL, Pandya P and Sanz-Moreno V (2017) Modes of invasion during tumour dissemination. Molecular Oncology 11(1):5-27.

Krupina K, Kleiss C, Rodriguez-Hernandez I, Sanz-Moreno V and Sumara I (2017). UBASH3B-mediated silencing of the mitotic checkpoint: therapeutic perspectives in cancer cells. Molecular & Cellular Oncology, 10.1080/23723556.2016.1271494.

Crosas E, Bertran E, Cantelli G, Herraiz C, Rodriguez-Hernandez I, Fabra A, Sanz-Moreno V* and Fabregat I* (2017) *co-corresponding senior authors. NADPH oxidase NOX4 represses epithelial to amoeboid transition and efficient tumour dissemination. Oncogene 36(21):3002-3014

Herraiz C, Calvo F, Pandya P, Cantelli G, Rodriguez-Hernandez I, Orgaz JL, Kang N, Chu T, Sahai E, Sanz-Moreno V. Reactivation of p53 by a cytoskeletal sensor to control the balance between DNA damage and tumour dissemination. J Natl Cancer Inst. (2016) 108(1). PMID: 26464464

Cantelli G, Orgaz JL, Rodriguez-Hernandez I, Karagiannis P, Maiques O, Matias-Guiu X, Nestle FO, Marti RM, Karagiannis SN, Sanz-Moreno V. TGFb-induced transcription sustains amoeboid melanoma migration and dissemination. Curr Biol (2015) 16;25(22):2899-914. PMID: 26526369

Orgaz JL, Pandya P, Dalmeida R, Karagiannis P, Sanchez-Laorden B, Viros A, Albrengues J, Nestle FO, Ridley AJ, Gaggioli C, Marais R, Karagiannis SN, Sanz-Moreno V. Diverse Matrix metalloproteinase functions regulate cancer amoeboid migration. Nat Comm (2014) 5:4255. PMID: 24963846

Sanz-Moreno V*, Gaggioli, C*, Yeo M Albrengues J. Wallberg F, Viros A , Hooper S, Mitter R, Feral C, Cook M; Larkin J , Marais R , Meneguzzi G, Sahai E, Marshall CJ. ROCK and JAK1 signalling cooperate to control actomyosin contractility in tumour cells and stroma. Cancer Cell (2011) 20, 229-45. PMID: 21840487 * equal contribution