Unidad de Inmunología Molecular
Molecular Medicine and Health Biotechnology
Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro-Majadahonda
DESCRIPTION OF THE OFFER
Cancer growth and metastasis are regulated to a great extent by stromal cells within the tumor microenvironment. Blood vessel components (endothelial cells and mural cells) are also ubiquitous within tumors, and yet, the impact of these tumor-resident cells is less understood beyond O2 and nutrients supply. Recent findings show that the perivascular niche can promote the colorectal cancer stem cell phenotype, favouring their survival, self-renewal, tumorigenic potential and chemoresistance, therefore playing an important role in relapse after treatment. In spite of being the prototypic perivascular cell, the role of pericytes in this context has not been addressed. Moreover, the resident hepatic pericytes (stellate cells) also play an important role in prometastatic niche induction, allowing engraftment of circulating colorectal cancer cells that extravasate through hepatic sinusoids.
With this project, we intend: a) to use the pericyte as a tumor stromal cell model to study the complex molecular interactions taking place with colorectal cancer cells contributing to relapse and metastasis initiation, and b) to identify key molecules governing such interactions that could function as predictive biomarkers and therapeutic targets.