Cancer occurs when cells divide uncontrollably. In order to proliferate, cells need a lot of energy to build all the components necessary for making new cells. It is therefore not surprising that cancer cells display metabolic reorganizations tailored for their high and rapid energy demands. However, this metabolic reorganization of cancer cells is poorly understood. In order to have a global view of tumor physiology, unbiased biological screening approaches, like genomics and metabolomics are very powerful. Genomics reveals the global gene expression of cells, while metabolomics identifies the intermediates of all cellular reactions, called metabolites. The main aim of my research program is to perform genomics and metabolomics on breast tumors. The combination of genomics and metabolomics will permit a comprehensive view of the overall regulatory networks that control breast tumor physiology. My research program makes the junction between an emerging field of scientific research, cancer metabolism, and cutting-edge technological platforms, genomics and metabolomics.
The experiments proposed will reveal metabolites that are differentially regulated in breast cancer and that could be used as biomarkers for cancer detection. Furthermore, the genomics data will reveal key players orchestrating these metabolic changes, and these players could then be targetted for therapeutic purposes. Importantly, the identification of the combined genomic and metabolic signatures of breast cancer will be a significant achievement in itself and will undoubtedly be valuable to the cancer research community in order to move forward potential therapies that would directly benefit cancer patients.