Targeting pathways involved in ZEB1-driven EMT in an aggressive subtype of colorectal cancer

01 January 2018 → 31 May 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
colorectal cancer
Project description

Colorectal cancer is a frequently lethal disease with very heterogeneous outcomes and drug responses. ZEB1 is a transcription factor controlling the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process, a developmental program reactivated during cancer progression. Cancer cells undergoing EMT acquire the capacity to disseminate, resist cell death and anticancer drugs/therapy and act as a reservoir to replenish the cells. Therefore, ZEB1-mediated EMT becomes a target of prime interest to develop novel and improved anticancer therapies. This PhD aims to further explore the signaling pathways involved in ZEB1-mediated cancer initiation/progression to gain insights in the mechanisms used by ZEB1 to promote malignant progression and to identify putative drugable nodes and specific biomarkers that can be used to target aggressive subtypes of CRC. This will be done by altering the ZEB1 expression in human CRC cellular models, analyzing characteristics driving malignant behavior, followed by study of associated differential signaling and mapping the genome-wide binding sites. A second aim is to screen a siRNA and small compound library with a highly-sensitive EMT-sensor to identify proteins/pathways/compounds that can prevent or revert ZEB1-mediated CRC progression.