Louis Vermeulen Group
Cancer molecular subtypes, stem cell dynamics, colorectal cancer, microenvironment
The Vermeulen group seeks to elucidate the origin, the evolution and the heterogeneity of colorectal cancer. Ongoing research projects range from fundamental biology to the stage of clinical application.
Colorectal cancer is a highly heterogeneous disease. Together with others, we developed gene transcriptome-based classifications with radically different molecular features and clinical properties. We now develop clinically applicable classification assays, aim to elucidate the molecular drivers for each subtype, and evaluate subtype-specific therapeutic interventions. In addition, we aim to understand the interaction of the microenvironment, in particular the immune system, with the distinct molecular subtypes with the ultimate aim to improve therapy efficacy.
Stem cells are essential for the homeostasis of most adult human tissues. We previously defined the impact of oncogenic mutations on stem cell dynamics in the intestine. To study stem cell dynamics, we set up and developed a collection of state-of-the-art tools and techniques. While studying the mode of growth of established colon cancer, we uncovered that the microenvironment determines clonogenicity in situ. Currently we aim to identify crucial microenvironment-cancer cell crosstalk amendable for targeting.
We use this knowledge and associated research tools to develop chemopreventive strategies, personalized treatment approaches, and novel therapies for colorectal cancer.