The primary mission of the Finnish Center of Excellence in Cancer Biology is the discovery and validation of new mechanisms and targets in human cancer. To achieve this goal, we plan to identify and functionally test novel genes and molecules that regulate the DNA damage response, tumor/stem cell growth and differentiation, and tumor lymph/angiogenesis and metastasis.
The constituent interactive projects include:
- Cellular DNA damage response proteins as guards of genomic integrity;
- PROX1 homeobox transcription factor in cancer stem cells;
- Tumorigenesis associated with altered function and proteolytic activation of transforming
- growth factor-ß;
- The role of lymphangiogenic growth factors in tumor metastasis;
- Adult bone marrow-derived stem and progenitor cells in angiogenesis and cancer.
The five groups bring together complementary conceptual and technological know-how required for the identification and functional validation of potential cancer targets in vitro and in animal models. Our initiative establishes a circuit from the discovery and analysis of oncogenic factors to testing their relevance in mouse models and further to pre-clinical trials with potential translational and therapeutic applications. The overall goal of this project is to use innovative, high throughput and large-scale functional genomics approaches to identify new genes and their modifying factors, and to evaluate their importance in vivo in human tumors and mouse models. Technological objectives include the application of (i) large-scale high throughput genetic analysis tools including ORFeomes and shRNA libraries, (ii) design of viral gene delivery and RNAi strategies, (iii) molecular image analysis, and (iv) development and testing of transgenic and knockdown animal models of lymph/angiogenesis and tumor progression.