Sodium transport in cancer cells
Lead researcher: Dr Will Brackenbury, Department of Biology
Disrupted sodium transport in cancer cells contributes to both the growth and metastasis of tumours. Our research focuses on one such transport mechanism, the voltage-gated sodium channel, which is aberrantly expressed in a range of cancer types.
We use electrophysiological approaches, including patch clamp recording, to study channel expression and activity in cultured cells and tumour tissue slices, and to understand how this channel contributes to regulation of cellular behaviour.
Recent work shows that voltage-gated sodium channel expression in breast cancer cells increases tumour growth, local invasion and metastasis, and this can be slowed using sodium channel-inhibiting antiepileptic medication.
We are starting to uncover the molecular mechanisms involved in voltage-gated sodium channel-dependent tumour progression via alteration of the plasma membrane potential.