Project titleMechanistic Insights on Naïve Fibroblast Activation in Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is found to be the third most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the world and in Qatar. It has also been shown to be the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men and women. The mortality rates of CRC in the United States among men reached up to 17.7%, whereas in women, went up to 12.4%. In CRC, the stromal tissue surrounding the tumor facilitate migration and metastasis of the cancer cells. The tumor stroma consists of different components like basement membrane, extracellular matrix, immune cells, vasculature, and fibroblasts, which are called naïve fibroblasts. Naïve fibroblasts are responsible for secreting extracellular matrix components (ECM) and proteases that enable remodelling of the ECM. Tumor cells however, secrete large amounts of cytokines that recruit stromal cells -including naïve fibroblasts- and mediates their reprogramming from an anti-inflammatory to a pro-inflammatory phenotype, aka Cancer Associated Fibroblasts (CAF), and sometimes referred to as activated fibroblasts. The research presented evaluated reprogramming of Naïve fibroblasts into CAFs using CAF markers such as fibroblast activating maker (FAP) and a-smooth muscle actin(a-SMA). To mimic tumors growing in vivo, cells were grown in conventional 2D cultures in addition to spheroids grown as 3D cultures, enabling co-culturing of tumor cells along with naïve fibroblast and assess their reprogramming into CAFs.

Primary contact nameMaya Salameh
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Students/participant(s) programs
  • Biological Sciences
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Nesrine Affara Research Mentor
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  • Biological Sciences