Cell Signaling and Genetics

The objective of the Cell Signaling and Genetics team is to develop new and better treatments for childhood solid tumours and leukemias based on the study of "signal transduction pathways" in tumour cells.

The research team hypothesizes that the best strategy for achieving this objective is through a process that involves:

  1. Identifying new cellular targets for drugs through genetic and biological studies of childhood tumours and tumour cell lines;
  2. Examining drug cytotoxicity and drug resistance profiles of tumour cell lines through in vitro use of agents targeting relevant pathways;
  3. Assessing unique combinations of drugs that will enhance cell cytotoxicity and overcoming drug resistance in vitro;
  4. Validating (verifying) these findings using in vivo models;
  5. Translating knowledge gained from basic studies into clinical trials that include laboratory assessment of risk and response to therapy.

Cell signaling and genetics is organized into two major components:

  1. The first component consists of wet laboratory-based analysis of genetic lesions and signal transduction pathways in childhood malignant tumours as a means for identifying recurrent pathway alterations in these diseases.
  2. The second component, which is still in development, consists of an experimental therapeutics module where the research team will extend the molecular findings to the development of new therapeutic strategies for childhood solid tumours and leukemias.