Identify and validate novel cancer-specific therapy targets and therapeutics for individualised therapies and clinical trials
Develop patient-derived in vitro and in vivo models to investigate the molecular mechanisms of specific cancers
Explore the tumourigenic mechanisms
Acknowledge and validate cancer-specific biomarkers to develop and improve novel both and existing diagnostic tools
Merkel cell carcinoma
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a neuroendocrine skin cancer, most frequently affects the elderly or immune-compromised individuals. MCC tumourigenesis is driven either by tumour cell–integrated Merkel cell polyoma virus or by inactive mutations of tumour suppressor genes such as retinoblastoma protein and tumour protein p53. This duality between Merkel cell polyoma virus–positive and –negative tumours leads to varying treatment outcomes.
Liposarcoma (LPS), a soft-tissue tumour, is thought to originate from adipocyte (fat) progenitor cells. As a heterogeneous tumour, its histological and genetic features, disease outcomes and responses to therapies vary.
Eccrine porocarcinoma (EPC) is a rare, aggressive skin malignancy of the eccrine sweat gland. Rather uniquely, EPC’s predecessor, poroma, is a benign adnexal neoplasm. However, EPC may develop in the absence of poroma. However, an estimated 18% to 100% of benign poromas progress to EPC. Due to EPC’s rarity, the mechanisms driving cancer progression remain rather poorly understood.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)
GIST is one of the most common types of soft tissue tumors. Most GISTs arise due to an activating mutation in a growth factor receptor gene, either KIT or platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha. Drugs specific for these receptors have improved the outcome of GIST patients significantly over the past decade. Unfortunately, GIST frequently develops resistance to current treatments, and there is a clear need to find new therapies to treat this cancer.