The CancerPathways project is supported through Coordination Theme 1 (Health) of the European Community's FP7, Grant agreement number HEALTH-F2-2008-201666
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Europe and worldwide. Although significant advances have been made in cancer research, it still remains a public health concern with a survival rate of about 50%. It is therefore of great importance to develop new and specific drug treatments for cancer. The EU collaborative project CancerPathways combines scientific expertise of eight partners to produce fundamental advances in our understanding of cancer biology and how this disease can be attacked.
Tumor development is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells. Cells are constantly exposed to signals from surrounding tissues that determine whether they divide, differentiate or die. Inside each cell, signal transduction pathways forward and convert these signals, thus controlling the ultimate decision, whether they can divide - or not. Consequently, the deregulation of diverse signal transduction pathways has been linked with carcinogenesis. Although new therapeutic approaches in cancer treatment target signaling pathway components, the full potential of signaling molecules as therapy targets remains to be explored.
The CancerPathways consortium aims to identify novel targets and drug-like molecules for therapeutic application. In this respect we make use of the high evolutionary conservation of most oncogenic pathways with Drosophila representing a particularly powerful model system for the analysis of signaling cascades. The project integrates recent technological advances, such as genome-wide RNAi and compound screens in cell-based and in vivo models as well as computational approaches.