Identification of mesenchymal-specific drivers of cancer-associated fibroblast activation
Despite the fact that most malignancies arise from in situ epithelial lesions, the majority of transformed cells harbouring advantageous oncogenic mutations do not spontaneously progress into fully established tumours. Recently, our group have shown the role of fibroblasts as the primary cause in cancer initiation. We showed that the loss of key transcription factors such as CSL (RBPJk) and AR, is sufficient to induce cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) activation, with increase tumour supporting phenotype.
The goal of my project is to identify mesenchymal specific transcriptional regulators of CAF activation. We believe that targeting the tumour stroma could increase efficacy and potency of cancer prevention and treatment.