Tumour-host interactions
Tor Erik Rusten | Assoc. Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway & Group Leader, Institute of Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, Norway

Cancer develops from cancer-initiating cells that acquire the ability to grow uncontrollably. Epithelial-derived cancers (carcinomas) develop in a stepwise manner with complex interactions between the transformed cells and neighbouring normal cells, the immune system, extracellular matrix and the overall animal physiology. Tumour cells may also evade its original location, invade neighbouring tissues and disseminate, finally killing the host. Dr. Rusten using a combination of the genetically amendable animal model system, Drosophila melanogaster and a human organoid model system that approximates real organ architecture in vivo to investigate mechanisms that allow cancer to grow and metastasise. Drosophila makes it possible to study communication between cells while it takes place within the organism, and Rusten recently showed that cancer cells grow by extracting nutrients from their surroundings. They showed that cancer cells induce autophagy in the tumour microenvironment through a mechanism that depend on mitochondrially produced reactive oxygen species in the tumour cell. Autophagy in the neighbouring normal cells produce amino acids that are transported to the tumour cells through channels.
Tor Erik Rusten performed in undergraduate work (Cand. Scient work) with Dr. Rein Aasland at the University of Bergen (1997-1997). His PhD was performed with Prof. Fotis C. Kafatos at the EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany (1997-2001) and in 2002 he took a post doc positiong in Harald Stenmark´s laboratory at the Norwegian Radium Hospital where he introduced Drosophila as a model system. He is currently a group leader at the Centre for Cancer Cell Reprogramming (https://cancell.no/). He is known as an excellent speaker.
Selected references
  • Katheder NS, Khezri R, O'Farrell F, Schultz SW, Jain A, Rahman MM, Schink KO, Theodossiou TA,Johansen T, Juhász G, Bilder D,Brech A, Stenmark H, Rusten TE(2017) Microenvironmental autophagy promotes tumour growth Nature, 541 (7637), 417-420
  • Katheder NS, Rusten TE (2017) Microenvironment and tumors-a nurturing relationship Autophagy, 13 (7), 1241-1243.
  • Morelli E, Ginefra P, Mastrodonato V, Beznoussenko GV, Rusten TE, Bilder D, Stenmark H, Mironov AA, Vaccari T (2014) Multiple functions of the SNARE protein Snap29 in autophagy, endocytic, and exocytic trafficking during epithelial formation in Drosophila. Autophagy, 10 (12), 2251-68
  • O'Farrell F, Wang S, Katheder N, Rusten TE, Samakovlis C (2013)Two-tiered control of epithelial growth and autophagy by the insulin receptor and the ret-like receptor, stitcher. PLoS Biol, 11 (7), e1001612
Website: http://ous-research.no/rusten/