Brain tumor, tissue invasion, kinase signalling, 3D invasion models
In our research program, we address tumor cell migration and tissue invasion, which are the underlying causes of metastatic spread in malignant tumors such as medulloblastoma (MB). Our primary objective is to develop and explore molecular targeting strategies against cell functions that drive cell migration and tissue invasion in MB. By providing novel mechanistic insights in the molecular processes that promote and mediate cell migration and tissue invasion, we furthermore extend our understanding of the biology underlying pediatric brain tumor growth and progression.
Metastatic dissemination of tumour cells and distant growth still constitute a major obstacle to effectively treat malignant primary brain tumours such as MB in children. MB metastasize both locally in the cerebellum and distantly to the leptomeninges of the brain and the spinal cord.
Our working hypotheses are that tissue invasion in metastatic and recurrent MB is driven by aberrant activation of pro-invasive signalling pathways in the tumour cells, and that dichotomous control of proliferation and invasiveness determines overall tumor progression.
We use functional screening approaches in 3D cell culture models and organotypic brain slice culture to characterize pro-invasive signalling pathways and to identify and validate relevant effectors suitable for specific small molecule targetingPublications