One cause of colorectal cancer is chronic intestinal inflammation that can result from inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. This gut inflammation is also associated with dysregulation of the local immune system, which is influenced by the bacteria that reside there. Therefore, Dr. Sassone-Corsi aims to understand how microbes manipulate the immune system, potentially providing insights that could be used to develop new therapies for patients. Her proposed study aims to identify specific bacterial molecules that may be relevant to this process and her preliminary work has already found that closely related strains of E. coli can have very different effects with respect to promoting inflammation. Now, she’s screening for the candidate molecules involved, and will then test how these individual molecules influence the immune system and colorectal cancer progression in mice. The identification of novel bacterial molecules that modulate the immune system might then provide leads for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat inflammatory bowel diseases as well as colorectal cancer.
Projects and Grants
Identifying bacterial molecules that induce gut immune responses and characterizing their protective potential against colitis-associated cancer
Harvard Medical School | Colorectal Cancer | 2018 | Christophe Benoist, M.D., Ph.D.
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