Laboratory of Cell Death Research & Therapy (VIB-KU Leuven)
The Laboratory of Cell Death Research & Therapy researches Defective regulation of cell death, especially in the form of apoptosis, contributes to the development of crucial pathologies including cancer and plays a major role in chemoresistance. Mechanisms regulating cancer cell death also affect the emission of ‘danger signals’ from the stressed/dying cells, which critically define their ‘immunogenic character’ and impact the initiation of immune responses. Our major goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms that control cancer cell death and how different cell death subroutines (e.g. oxidative stress induced apoptosis, ER stress, autophagy-associated cell death) impact immunity and therapeutic outcome. We mainly focus on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and autophagy, two key cellular stress pathways with emerging roles in the modulation of cancer metabolism, inflammation and anti-tumor immunity. To generate fundamental knowledge we use several molecular/biochemical approaches that we finally validate by using suitable cancer models. Our final goal is to contribute to combating cancer by translating the acquired fundamental knowledge into the development of new therapeutic strategies.
CDRT’s specific research topics include:
- ER-mitochondria cross-talk during ER stress and apoptosis
- Role of autophagy in carcinogenesis and therapy response
- Cross-talk between cancer cell death and innate immunity
- Development of anticancer treatments harnessing immunogenic cancer cell death.