Développement et cancers du système urogénital

 

Maxime Bouchard

Université McGill

 

Domaine : santé de la mère, des enfants et des adolescents

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Senior

Concours 2014-2015

My research program focuses on urogenital system development (e.g. kidneys, ureters, prostate) and on the different cancers affecting this system (kidney and prostate). In the urinary system, we are studying how the first renal cell appear in the embryo, induced from progenitor cells (or stem cells). We are trying to understand how these cells organize themselves to generate the different tissues forming the urogenital system. Another interesting question we are addressing is how the ureter manages to connect to the bladder during embryo development.

We have documented this phenomenon a few years ago and are now trying to understand better the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms. Our laboratory also studies prostate development. As for the kidney, prostate development initially proceeds from progenitor/stem cells. In the adult, the prostate has an impressive regeneration potential provided by stem cells dispersed throughout normal tissue. We believe these stem cells are involved in the recurrence of prostate tumors following treatment.

In recent years, it became more and more clear that cancers reactivate genes and cell behaviors important for embryo development. By studying these mechanisms in the embryo we will better understand the developmental malformations observed in neonates. By comparing these genes and cell behaviors between embryos and cancers, we will be able to develop new therapeutic strategies targeting tumors cells without affecting healthy tissues.