Cancer Invasion and Resistance
The aim of our research is to understand cancer-induced molecular changes, especially those that regulate lysosomal activity and function leading to enhanced invasion and metastasis, in order to find novel ways to target these often still untreatable, malignant functions of cancer.
At CIR we employ innovative strategies to combat drug resistance and to inhibit the invasive potential of cancer cells, focusing on aggressive, treatment-resistant breast and ovarian cancers. We are particularly interested on the influence of cancer-induced lysosomal activity and cholesterol in these processes.
Our current efforts center on developing personalized treatments for platinum-taxane-resistant ovarian cancer and for understanding the role of HER2 signaling and lysosomes in standard treatment resistant breast cancer. To mimic the complexity of real tumors, we employ 3D cultures, including tumor organoids from ovarian cancer patients and spheroids from breast and ovarian cancer cells. Our cutting-edge approach integrates 3D confocal high-throughput microscopy, advanced image analysis, RNA interference, CRISPR-Cas9, and lentiviral plasmid delivery techniques to uncover new insights and therapeutic possibilities.
Analysis of tumor organoids
In our research, we culture tumor organoids using high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC) patient-derived tumor tissue, creating stable 3D tissue cultures resembling the original tumors to study them in laboratory conditions. These cultures serve as valuable tools for translational and pre-clinical investigations, enabling us to gain insights into drug resistance mechanism, tumor growth and invasion and allow us to explore innovative personalized medicine approaches.
Group leader: Tuula Kallunki
Tuula Kallunki received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Oulu, Finland in 1992, and completed her post-doctoral training in the Department of Pharmacology at the UCSD, USA after which she moved to the Danish Cancer Society with a Marie Curie Fellowship.
Besides being a group leader in DCI, she is currently also affiliated as an Associate Professor to the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen, where she is connected to the Personalized Medicine Cluster. In addition to her research activities, Tuula Kallunki has acted as a consultant for biotechnology companies, co-organized several scientific symposia and as an expert evaluator for various international grant agencies. She is currently an editor for two scientific journals and act as a referee for various scientific journals.