Elucidating the stem cell basis for skin field cancerisation
Grantee: Dr Girish Patel, Senior Lecturer at the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, Cardiff University, Wales
Amount: DKK 1,704,758
Grant category: Research grants in open competition
Geography: United Kingdom
Gish Patel from Cardiff University in Wales leads an international collaboration of experts in a project that investigates the signalling pathways responsible for malignant transformation of skin epithelial cells. The hope is to identify novel therapeutic targets for future drug discovery and development.
Epithelia are continually exposed to environmental carcinogens and therefore, cancers of epithelial tissues called carcinoma, account for 85% of all cancers and 78% of all cancer-associated mortality.
Many carcinomas arise from pre-malignant transformation as intraepithelial neoplasia, also referred to as field cancerisation (FC). FC can give rise to multiple primary cancers and is a feature of malignancies involving many organs, including the skin.
The team hypothesises that the mechanism in skin FC arises from dysregulation of a particular signalling pathway. This is based on results from a murine model on Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis, where the team uncovered a novel keratinocyte stem cell (KSC) basis for the FC.
This is potentially relevant to FC in other tissues and the team targets utilisation of an innovative multiple-strategy approach to determine a drug-targetable signalling pathway involved in malignant transformation and expansion of this novel KSC population.