The first Institute Seminar for the autumn season of 2019 will take place Wednesday August 21st at 12:00 in the auditorium in the Research Building, Montebello.
The speaker is Viola Lobert, PhD, Scientist in the research group of Tor Erik Rusten, Department of Molecular Cell Biology.
Title of her talk: Targeting ion transport to prevent metastasis in mucinous colorectal cancer
Mucinous colorectal cancer (CRC) is a distinct subtype of CRC characterized by high levels of mucus. While diagnostic hallmarks have not been characterised, mucus has been found to increase the metastatic potential of these tumours, suggesting it might be a good target for therapy. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by mutations in the ion channel CFTR, leading to defective chloride and bicarbonate transport, which are required for the production of thin mucus. This project is based on the hypothesis that there is a functional deficiency in CFTR in mucinous CRC that leads to the accumulation of mucus; analogous to what is observed in CF. We propose that this deficiency is due to loss of a tumour suppressor gene. Our preliminary data suggests that this tumour suppressor gene regulates the activity of CFTR, so when it is is lost, CFTR cannot open its channel. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide mechanistic insight into mucus accumulation as well as to identify therapeutic molecules that restore CFTR function in patients that have lost the tumour suppressor gene. This multidisciplinary project combining cell biology, proteomics, advanced imaging and screening of compounds with a therapeutic goal represents an opportunity to fill the knowledge gap for this particular cancer subtype.