Stemness & Metastasis: Advances in Research and Clinical Translation
20-21 May 2021

Maria Vivanco

CIC bioGUNE, Basque Research & Technology Alliance (BRTA), Bilbao, Spain

María dM Vivanco graduated from the University of the Basque Country, worked at Sandoz (Basel) and carried out her PhD thesis at EMBL (Heidelberg). After her post-doctoral studies at UCSF (San Francisco), María started her own lab at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, where she identified mammary stem/progenitor cells in the human breast. At CIC bioGUNE, her team is characterising normal and cancer stem cells and examining their role in resistance to endocrine therapy. She is on the committee of the European Network for Breast Development and Cancer and has worked with breast cancer charities, including Breakthrough (UK) and Acambi (Spain).

A major objective of the laboratory is to gain further insight into the roles of steroid hormone receptors in normal breast tissue and during breast cancer development. Thus, the influences of hormones, cross-talk with other signaling factors and the microenvironment on breast stem cells and on their transformation into cancer initiating cells are being explored, particularly focusing on their effects during development of resistance to endocrine therapy. Recent work from the lab has revealed the role of CSCs in resistance to tamoxifen and has highlighted the molecular heterogeneity observed in response to the cell environment.