Presentation of the Department
The Department of Functional Genomics and Experimental Pathology is part of the research infrastructure of The Oncology Institute “Prof Dr. Ion Chiricuta” Cluj-Napoca, a comprehensive cancer center that is mainly specialized in offering preventive, curative and palliative medical services in the oncologic domain, as well as learning and research opportunities.
DFGEP in collaboration with the medical departments is actively involved in researching the molecular and cellular features of different tumor localisation, such as breast, cervical, colon and prostate cancer. With more than eight years experience in microarray analysis (Agilent Technologies), we can provide comprehensive state-of-the art microarray services in the fields of pharmacogenomics, hemogenomics and functional genomics.
The strategy plan of our department is mainly based on translational research, to improve the diagnosis and treatment prediction in the cancer field. In addition to this, our team is involved in basic research on in vitro studies, to identify altered mechanisms in cancer development and progression, as well as to identify new molecular pathways modulated by different chemical compounds (pharmacogenomics studies). Currently we are involved in developing a new facility for microfluidics, as support for the challenging aims of cancer research, in collaboration with Harvard University. Our infrastructure includes: biobank facility, complete infrastructure for genomics analysis (Agilent microarray platform) and gene expression (Roche LC480 and LC2.0), facilities for in vitro studies, bioinformatic and statistical analysis. Our team includes specialists for every service that we can provide (http://erris.gov.ro/Laboratory-of-Molecular-Biol-2).
The research activities of our department are supported by research projects and are focused on molecular biology and/or functional genomics such as:
1. Angiogenesis studies: in-depth mechanistic studies of VEGF, PDGF and SEMA3 proangiogenic signaling in the breast, colon and cervical cancers.
2. Drug resistance studies: genomics studies (mRNA and miRNA) related to the role of baseline resistance to treatment response of cervical cancer patients; genomics studies investigating long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) as possible biomarkers to identify breast cancer high-risk patients; mechanistic studies of the role of miRNAs in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and cervical cancer patients with baseline resistance;
3. Cancer stem-like cells studies: in-depth mechanistic studies investigating the role of cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) upon doxorubicin and carboplatin resistance mechanisms of breast cancer cells; studies investigating the role of lncRNAs in maintaining CSCs activity.
4. Hemogenomics studies: exploratory studies to identify key molecules (mARN) in whole blood relevant for early diagnosis of prostate and colon cancer; exploratory studies to identify specific circulating miARN for early diagnosis in breast and colon cancer; blood profiling to distinct between different groups of breast cancer patients based on Her2, Estrogen and Progesterone expression on primary tumors.
5. Pharmacogenomics studies: in-depth mechanistic studies to identify and investigate specific pathways and molecular mechanisms related to cell death, activated by different conventional and non-conventional chemicals drugs; studies to identify the role of miRNA-mRNA modulation in basic and acquired drug resistance of a different type of tumor cells (ovarian, breast, colon).