FOR 2438 – Cell Plasticity in Colorectal Carcinogenesis
For the development of colorectal cancer (CRC) cell-autonomous events alone are insufficient. Accumulating epidemiological, genetic and preclinical experimental evidence strongly indicate that the cytokine milieu in the tumor microenvironment plays a decisive role at all stages of CRC development as well as during cytotoxic therapy. Cytokines and other signal proteins control the plasticity of stromal, tumor and cancer stem like cells in an autocrine and paracrine manner thereby shaping the complex cellular contexture, which ultimately forms a pro- or anti-tumorigenic milieu. Thus, this Research Unit aims to gather a comprehensive functional understanding of mediator-dependent cellular and molecular events that are responsible for the plasticity of both stromal and tumor/stem cells.
The consortium will create a unique network bringing together leading basic and clinical scientists with complementary expertise in the fields of gastroenterology, immunology, pathology, surgery, molecular biology, cell biology and tumor biology that have one common goal: the development and preclinical assessment of novel strategies for prevention and therapy of CRC based on interference with cell plasticity in the tumor micro-environment. This powerful interdisciplinary network of clinical and basic scientists with a translational research focus that unify their expertise on a common topic will set the basis for the development of innovative therapeutic approaches that will go clearly beyond the current standard of care.