Research

Research

Metastasis is the main cause of death for cancer patients. To colonize distant organs, cancer cells communicate with their environment to overcome obstacles such as infiltration of foreign tissues, survival in the circulation and adaptation to supportive niches. Although metastasis is an inefficient biological process; we currently fail to understand it, to prevent it and to have durable responses.
The Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research (LECR) dedicates its resources to understand the communicative determinants between cancer cells and their host tissue. Mapping tumor-environment interactions will lead to the identification of disease- or therapy-associated biomarkers and to novel therapeutic targets. LECR is part of the Cancer Research Institute Ghent (CRIG), a joint initiative to promote cancer research between Ghent University, Ghent University Hospital and VIB (a life sciences research institute in Flanders).
The research in the Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research can be clustered in two main research topics each of one driven by a principal investigator:

  1. The identification of adaptive communication skills between cancer cells and host cells (cancer-associated fibroblast) during metastasis and therapeutic intervention. This includes the design of patient-relevant, metastasis-related assays to promote the discovery of novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers (Prof. Olivier De Wever).
  2. Biological, diagnostic and therapeutic rationale of extracellular vesicles in tumor environment interactions during metastasis. This includes the pre-analytical, analytical and standardization issues to design international guidelines and standard operating procedures for clinical implementation in liquid biopsies and treatment (Prof. An Hendrix).