Oncology Growth control and cancer metastasis
Intricate signalling networks control cell division, differentiation, movement, organization and death. Understanding how cells read and transform these signals into changes in cell behaviour is a major research focus of our group. Cancer cells disobey these signals during tumour progression and metastasis. Metastasis is the final step in 90% of all fatal solid tumours. It is therefore a grave public health problem and consequently a field of considerable pharmaceutical interest.
Growth Control and Cancer Metastasis
Our research centres on how growth factors, signalling pathways, and gene expression programmes control normal cell proliferation and cancer cell metastasis.
We study the ways in which cancer cells evade tumour suppressor mechanisms and engage in metastatic behaviour. We focus on a cytostatic programme involving the transcriptional activation of cell cycle inhibitors and the transcriptional repression of growth-promoting and anti-differentiation factors. Furthermore, we examine how tumour cells evade these gene responses in order to pursue metastatic behaviour. By combining in vivo selection of human metastatic cells, transcriptomic profiling and functional testing, we identify genes that selectively mediate breast metastasis to specific organs. Gene transfer techniques and RNAi-mediated gene silencing are used to functionally validate candidate genes. We are encouraged by the recent validation of these findings in clinical samples. Several of these genes encode products that are susceptible to therapeutic targeting.
The Growth control and cancer metastasis group receives financial support from the following sources:
- Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Spanish Ministry of Science and Education)
- Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer