Lung Cancer Model Systems
Curing late stage disseminated lung cancer is extremely challenging, as cell populations are highly heterogeneous both molecularly and histologically, and often genomically unstable. Despite progress in strategies applying anti-tumour immunity, therapeutic resistance limits clinical efficacy. A shift to cancer prevention and early detection is necessary, requiring a better understanding of the biological and physiological basis of cancer initiation.
Our research strategy comprises a comprehensive approach to tackle challenges in the field of lung cancer research, progressing from mouse model systems of cancer to human disease cohorts. First, tumour-initiating events are identified in murine lung cancer cohorts, comprised of validated and putative driver combinations expressed in tissue progenitor cells. Second, we apply pathology-specific functional and immune profiling studies to identify drivers of malignancy. Third, we implement a mouse-to-patient comparative personalised medicine study, establishing the ability of cultured cells and tissue explants to reliably predict or validate in vivo drug sensitivities. Foreseeing rapid technological advances in personalised cancer diagnostics, we hope to implement crucial findings in rational design of cancer prevention or intervention strategies
To achieve these goals, and translate key findings to the clinic, our research interfaces with biobanking and molecular profiling capacities available at FIMM and associated Biocenters. We collaborate with Pharma partners to develop complex models for target validation and gene therapy approaches in the European public-private IMI-PREDECT consortium (2011-2016; http://predect.eu). We increasingly collaborate with pulmonary surgeons, clinicians and pathologists to implement personalised disease profiling on tumour samples from locally treated patients.