Understanding malignant tumors and developing efficient therapeutics. Normal cells regulate their life cycle and growth carefully, subordinating the Darwinian tendency to reproduce in favor of maintaining the homeostasis of the multicellular organism they inhabit. During evolution some cells in the human body undergo changes in their genetic material and become growth and survival dominant over the neighboring cells. More than 150 defined diseases known as malignant tumors develop as a consequence. This program breeds new ideas into the molecular understanding of different malignant tumors and the development of modern and more efficient therapeutics against these diseases.
The program focuses on the following topics:
Inflammation and cancer – Many clinical observations suggest a link between chronic inflammation and cancer, including (i) a frequent association of primary tumors with sites of chronic inflammation, (ii) an unfavorable prognosis of cancers associated with inflammation and (ii) a reduction in cancer incidence by anti-inflammatory drugs. The focus will be on interferon signaling via Toll-like receptor (TLR) and its relevance to cancer pathogenesis. TLR signaling can enhance tumor development through various mechanisms, such as induction of different inflammatory cytokines, which influence tumor growth. At the same time, TLR signaling functions in innate immunity system and induces interferon, which has an anti-tumor effect. The balance between these two opposite effects in the same signaling makes fine tune of tumor development. To elucidate the link between innate immunity and cancer, the molecular mechanism of tumor development by cytokine production via TLR in the innate immune cells will be studied.