Dr. Van Landeghem’s laboratory explores how signals emanating from the microenvironment impact normal and cancer intestinal epithelial stem cells. Her research especially focuses on the role of enteric glial cells of the enteric nervous system. Her group has recently shown that enteric glial cells densely innervate colon adenocarcinomas and promote cancer stem cell tumor-propagating abilities. Current research aims to define the molecular crosstalk between intestinal stem cells and enteric glial cells in healthy intestines, and to assess whether alterations of this crosstalk induced by chronic stress occurring during intestinal pathologies may lead to the neoplastic transformation of normal stem cells into cancer stem cells and promote tumor progression and resistance to anti-cancer therapies using genetic mouse models and primary co-culture systems.
Relevance of Research to CGIBD Mission:
Dr. Van Landeghem’s research is in line with the CGIBD’s focus areas of translational research and regenerative medicine/repair, and is at the interface between the two fields of gastroenterology and neuroscience. More specifically, the investigations led by her group aim to identify novel molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling normal and cancer epithelial stem cells, thereby corresponding to potential therapeutical targets to promote epithelial regeneration and block carcinogenesis.
CGIBD Focus Area(s): translational research and regenerative medicine/repair
Pilot and Feasibility Award: 2016 & 2018
Collaborators: Magness, Magness, Carroll, Blikslager, Odle and Ziegler