by Jordi Alcaraz, UB facultat de Medicina & IBEC Associated Researcher
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death due in part to subtoptimal patient responses to current therapies, which have been largely designed to targeting cancer cell abnormalities. However, there is a paradigm shift in cancer research that considers tumors as abnormal organs, thereby acknowledging the key contribution to tumor progression provided by fibroblasts and other non-cancerous stromal cells that shape the tumor mechanical and biochemical ecosystem.
Our group pioneered the study of tumor-associated fibroblasts (TAFs) in lung cancer in Spain in collaboration with oncologists at the Hospital Clínic. I will provide an overview of our efforts in unveiling how TAFs contribute to tumor progression in major lung cancer subtypes and in identifying how can we target such contributions with new therapeutic strategies, including the development of novel preclinical models. Moreover, I will describe our efforts to define novel TAF-related prognostic and/or diagnostic biomarkers. Part of this work is carried out in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies. I will also briefly summarize ongoing collaborations with IBEC groups in these topics.