Reading Cancer's Signals
The complex nature of cancer continues to challenge scientists looking to control and, ultimately, prevent the disease. As some conduct research into the genetic factors that contribute to the onset of the disease, others are concentrating on the cellular and biologic environment in which tumors develop and grow. It has long been known that hormones and growth factors play an important part in the development of malignancy in humans, and estrogen receptors have long been useful predictive prognostic indicators.
Dr. William Muller's work to date has focused on elucidating the molecular mechanism by which oncogenes - genes that turn normal cells into tumorous cells - are involved in inducing breast cancer in a murine system. He has also developed a large series of transgenic animals that have allowed him to address the effects of various signalling and growth factors in the development of malignancy. As Canada Research Chair in Molecular Oncology, Dr. Muller plans to continue to investigate the interrelationship between distinct hormone, growth factor and signalling pathways in the induction of breast cancer. He will do this by using a combination of genetic and biochemical approaches, with transgenic mouse models. He believes that his molecular studies into the basis of breast cancer will lead to the discovery of new proteins that play a key role in the induction of the disease.
Dr. Muller's research will overlap four areas that McGill University's Faculty of Medicine focuses on: integrative genomics, molecular medicine, bioinformatics and structural biology. He intends to take advantage of synergies between the four areas to develop a comprehensive picture of the signalling pathways that are involved in human breast cancer progression and test potentially novel therapeutic solutions.