NEOMODELS: Flatworms as new model organisms for stem cell biology, carcinogenesis and drug discovery (Type 3)

01 April 2011 → 31 March 2013
Regional and community funding: IWT/VLAIO
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Biomarker discovery and evaluation
    • Drug discovery and development
    • Medicinal products
    • Pharmaceutics
    • Pharmacognosy and phytochemistry
    • Pharmacology
    • Pharmacotherapy
    • Toxicology and toxinology
    • Other pharmaceutical sciences
stem cell biology
Project description

In this project we will try to validate flatworms as new model organisms and to get a proof of concept of their applicability as a preclinical model systems. First you will develop an in vivo stem cell proliferation assay. This assay will be used specifically to test the stem cell dynamics under the influence of carcinogens and anti-cancer drugs. One will begin testing of well-known agents in order to validate the assay. The central nervous and behavioral assay, will be used to test the overall neuromuscular condition of the animal. Then they will develop cancer worm and assay validation. One will perform for cancer-specific genes, an RNA-inter luminance (RNAi) screening. This will provide information on the possible function of new genes, but also on obtaining a worm with a cancer / tumor phenotype. Then this worm will be used in conjunction with the in vivo stem cell proliferation assay to test the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs. Then they will develop flatworms as models for stamcelepigenetica. Flatworms offer the opportunity to test stem cells for genetic and epigenetic changes in parallel. One will measure the epigenetic changes in the stem cells and the functional analysis of genes that may be responsible for these changes (RNAi). Finally, it wants to develop flatworms as model for preclinical drug development. Simple model organisms provide attractive platforms for the development and streamlining of efficient drug discovery and drug target identification methods.