History of the Metastasis Research Society (MRS)


Dr. Kurt Hellmann, a visionary leader in translational metastasis research, founded the “Metastasis Club” in the early 1970’s as a member of the European Organisation for Research on Treatment of Cancer (EORTC).  The first meeting of the EORTC Metastasis Club took place in London, England in 1974 where 7 papers on metastatic cancer were presented to roughly 30-40 EORTC members from Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, the U.K. and Netherlands.  In 1980, the EORTC Metastasis Club evolved into the “Metastasis Project Group.”

Dr. Hellmann continued to chair international metastasis meetings through the early 1980’s.  He was also instrumental in the inauguration of the journal Clinical and Experimental Metastasis, which he co-edited with Dr. Sue Eccles, Dr. Luka Milas, and Dr. Garth Nicolson from 1983 to 1998.  Clinical and Experimental Metastasis is now the official journal of the MRS along with 2 other associated journals, Angiogenesis and Cancer and Metastasis Reviews.

The MRS was born in 1984 from the Metastasis Project Group at their, “Treatment of Metastasis: Problems and Prospects” conference in London, England.  The MRS has continued to host biennial international meetings on metastasis research since, and is currently on the 16th Biennial Metastasis Research Congress.

Despite his passing, Dr. Hellmann continues to influence metastasis researchers who he consistently reminded to maintain an awareness of clinical realities when proposing the clinical value of a therapeutic agent discovered in the lab.  Click here to view an in memoriam article on the achievements of Dr. Hellmann.

In 2011, MRS member, Lalita Shevde-Samant, named young metastatic researchers as Early Career Ambassadors of the MRS (ECAM) and created the Early Career Leadership Council (ECLC) as the representative body of ECAM.  In 2014, the ECLC led the creation of the first Young Investigator Satellite Meeting as a part of the Biennial Metastasis Research Congress.  Satellite meetings have continued in order to foster productive relationships between young and senior investigators in metastasis research and to help young investigators develop professional and leadership skills.

The MRS continues to be run entirely by volunteers with the exception of one part-time Director of Programs and Engagement, who was hired in April of 2016 to further the mission of the MRS.  Just over a year later in May of 2017, the MRS opened membership to the metastatic patient community by offering supporting membership categories, thus creating a collaborative society for all major stakeholders in patient-centered metastatic cancer research.

Image: Dr. Kurt Hellmann