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Regulation of cancer stem cells by proteolysis

Cancer stem cells have recently been identified to be responsible for disease recurrance and metastatic spread. These cells are relatively resistant to therapeutic intervention as they have developed mechanisms that allow them to evade therapy.

A family of membrane associated proteolytic enzymes called disintegrin and metalloproteinases (ADAMs) has been shown to play pivotal roles in regulating major pathways involved in disease recurrance and thus these enzymes represent avenues for the discovery of novel therapeutic opportunities, that may allow us to target the cancer stem cell compartment.

We have recently discovered that cell surface cancer marker expression levels are differentially regulated through vesicle release of full length and proteolytically cleaved cancer stem cell marker (1). There is evidence that communication between cancer cells and the stroma may occur via vesicle or proteolytically released cancer stem cell membrane proteins. The aim of the studentship is to investigate the signalling potential of the soluble protein in medium versus the full-length protein released in vesicles and to identify signaling responses in stromal and cancer stem cells.

The successful applicant will join an international team of researchers in the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences based at the School of Dentistry, Cardiff University and have access to modern technology. The project will provide intensive research training across a wide area of cell and molecular biology, including confocal imaging, qPCR and proteomic analysis.

More information on the Matrix Biology & Tissue Repair Research Unit.


Dr Vera Knauper

Dr Vera Knauper

Director of Postgraduate Research Studies/Programme Director Oral Biology

+44 29207 42595

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For programme structure, entry requirements and how to apply, visit the Dentistry programme.

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