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Stem cell dynamics in early cancer development

Stem cells are essential for the homeostasis of most adult human tissues. Previously we identified stem-like cells that fuel the growth and progression of colorectal cancers. We defined the impact of oncogenic mutations on stem cell dynamics in the intestine . We use this knowledge and associated research tools to improve chemopreventive strategies and to develop novel, and more effective therapies for colorectal cancer.

Stem cell dynamics in developing and established cancers

We elucidated mode of growth of colon cancer tissue and uncovered that the microenvironment determines clonogenicity in situ . In addition we defined microenvironmental factors that regulate stem cell function in cancers. We now employ marker-free tracing approaches that we developed to improve efficacy of existing therapies and to develop novel agents in various solid cancers. For this we pair quantitative clone analysis with in vivo CRISPR based screening approaches aimed at identifying crucial microenvironmental – cancer cell crosstalk.

Consensus Molecular Subtypes (CMS) in Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a highly heterogeneous disease. Together with others, we developed gene transcriptome-based classifications that identify colorectal cancer subtypes with radically different molecular features and clinical properties. At the lab, we currently develop improved and clinically applicable classification assays, aim to elucidate the molecular drivers of the unique properties of each subtype, and evaluate subtype-specific therapeutic interventions.