Matthew Dankner


Brain metastasis occurs in over 11,000 Canadians per year and comes with a bleak prognosis for patients, with their mean survival being under 1 year. Little progress has been made in the development of successful treatments or biomarkers for brain metastasis in recent years. This is in part due to the artificial models and cell lines currently used to study brain metastasis, emphasizing the importance of establishing valid and clinically relevant patient derived xenograft (PDX) models and cell lines of brain metastasis. This project aims to build and characterize a bank of models of brain metastasis from various primary sites using in vitro culture techniques and intra-cranial injections in immunocompromised mice.We hypothesize that our established bank of models will be strongly similar to the surgically resected tissue and that it will reveal an expression signature common to all organ sites that can be modulated genetically and pharmacologically for application in functional experiments. This will allow us to employ these models as powerful tools to study human brain metastasis, bringing us closer to developing therapeutics to treat this devastating complication of cancer.


I completed my undergraduate degree in Anatomy & Cell Biology at McGill, and joined the Siegel lab working on a project characterizing CCN3’s role in prostate cancer bone metastasis as a summer student and undergraduate honours student beginning in the Summer of 2014. I am now in the first year of the MD/PhD program at McGill and will begin my PhD in January 2017 working on brain metastasis. If you have any questions regarding my research, the Siegel lab or the MD/PhD program feel free to email me at



Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre - McGill University
1160 Pine Ave. West (Room 508)
Montreal, Quebec (Canada)
H3A 1A3
T. 514.398.8889
F. 514.398.6769