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Five European laboratories forms a concerted effort to understand tumor-host interactions

An EU funded Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP) entitled "Tumor-Host Genomics" has been launched at the University of Helsinki, Finland. The Tumor-Host Genomics project links together the resources of five European leading-edge laboratories studying major signaling pathways in mesenchymal and hematopoietic cells, forming a concerted effort to understand tumor-host interactions, and to identify novel therapeutic targets.

The European Union will fund the project with a total of 2.7 million during the next three years. The project is coordinated by Dr. Petri Salven from the University of Helsinki. The other participating principal investigators are Dr. Kari Alitalo and Dr. Jussi Taipale, also form the University of Helsinki, Dr. Peter ten Dijke from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and Dr. Luigi Naldini from the San Raffaele Telethon Insitute for Gene Therapy in Italy.

In addition to oncogenic mutations that act cell-autonomously, tumor cell growth depends on interactions with its microenvironment. Tumor microenvironment consists of cells of hematopoietic and mesenchymal origin, including inflammatory cells, stem and progenitor cells, fibroblasts, endothelial cells and vascular mural cells. Tumor cell growth is known to depend on the interaction of tumor cells with such stromal cells. For example, growing tumor needs to recruit normal endothelial and vascular mural cells to form its blood vessels.

The Tumor-Host Genomics project will develop novel advanced functional genomics instruments, technologies and methods to study tumor-host interactions in cancer, and apply these techniques to the identification of molecules and processes in normal cells which could be targeted by novel anti-cancer therapeutic agents. The ultimate goal of the project is to unravel and validate new targets for anticancer therapy, and new strategies for delivering therapy to tumors.

"We are studying the molecular and cellular intera
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Contact: Dr. Petri Salven
petri.salven@helsinki.fi
358-50-5645-457
University of Helsinki
26-Jan-2006


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