Examination of the role of thromboxane synthase signalling and its link to tumour angiogenesis in colorectal cancer

Key Information

Cancer type: 
Colorectal
Research Institution: 
Trinity & St James's
Grant Amount: 
€196,694
Start date: 
October 1, 2011
End date: 
September 30, 2014

Scientific Project Abstract

Colorectal cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, with a poor prognosis for late stage patients where disease has spread to the liver. New drugs have been developed to fight late stage CRC by blocking the growth of blood vessels in tumours. However ~40% of patients respond and the remainder suffer severe side effects. This project will examine the effect of novel drugs on the growth of tumour blood vessels. The drugs we will examine focus on blocking a specific enzyme pathway (the thromboxane synthase pathway). Levels of this enzyme pathway will be examined in tumour tissue and serum from CRC patients and will be compared to cancer-free controls and patient survival. To further examine how these drugs work, we will screen their effect on vessel growth and maturity using a zebrafish model. In parallel, our drugs will be screened in tumours cultured from CRC patients and this tissue will also be implanted into zebrafish to understand the effect of human tumour tissue on blood vessel growth and tumour progression in-vivo. This bench-to-bedside research will determine if the thromboxane synthase pathway is involved in CRC growth and angiognesis, which will uncover potential new molecular therapies for CRC patients.

For the non-scientist

One-line description: 
Examining the effects of novel drugs on the growth of blood vessels in colorectal cancer tumours
What this project involves: 

It is well known that an adequate blood supply is vital for tumours to survive and grow in the body and a number of drug which target the tumours blood supply have now been developed. However, ~40% patients respond to these drugs and the remainder suffer unnecessary side effects associated with the treatment. This project will examine the effect of novel drugs on the growth of tumour blood vessels which act by blocking a specific enzyme pathway in the cancer cells. It is hoped that this study will uncover potential new molecular therapies for colorectal cancer patients.