We study how motile adipocytes regulate wound healing and cancer

Fat cells, also called adipocytes, were once believed to merely serve to store our energy and keep us warm. It is now clear that they also play important functions in wound healing and cancer. Our recent study in fruit flies showed that adipocytes, commonly presumed to be immobile, are actually motile cells that migrate towards wounds to enable wound repair and fight wound infection. 

Our goals now are to investigate what roles motile adipocytes have in promoting wound healing and in blocking cancer growth. Using the pupa of the fruit fly we follow the behaviour of adipocytes in response to wounds or tumors in real time using microscopy and combine this with genetic experiments.

Our findings will provide new insights into the mechanisms through which adipocytes regulate wound healing and cancer and may help identify possible new therapies for improving wound healing and inhibiting cancer growth in human patients.

The Anna Franz lab @ UCL is funded by: