Le récepteur 56 couplés aux protéines G (GPR56): un nouveau régulateur potentiel des cellules souches leucémiques

 

Heather Duncan

Institut de recherche du Centre universitaire de santé McGill (CUSM)

 

Domaine : Cancer

Programme : Formation de doctorat

Concours 2016-2017

Partenaire:

Fondation des Étoiles

The various cell types that make up the blood are produced from the stem cells of the bone marrow. In patients suffering from acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of blood cancer, the cancerous cells are organized in a hierarchy similar to normal blood cells. However, the stem cells that maintain AML are resistant to treatments such as chemotherapy, and are responsible for relapse of the disease in the patient following treatment. Therefore, it is necessary to eliminate these cells in order to cure patients in the long term. A gene called GPR56 produces a protein that participates in communication between cells and is implicated in the occurrence of many diseases, including numerous types of cancer.

Nearly 40% of currently available drugs target proteins from this family. Our discoveries in AML show that the GPR56 gene is more present (overexpressed) in patients with a poor response to chemotherapy and a poor overall outcome, both in adults and children. I genetically modified human cancer cells to express more or less of this gene. With these tools, I will evaluate the impact of expression of GPR56 on the capacity of cancerous cells to proliferate, migrate and produce difference subtypes of cancerous cells in AML. Similarly, I will study the impact of this gene in normal blood stem cells as a comparison in order to evaluate the influence of this gene on the maintenance of cancer and response to treatment. These experiments will be done in vitro and in mouse models. We expect that this research will improve understanding of AML and contribute to improved treatment and patient survival.