RNAi and gene expression profiling as a tool in cancer research

Michelle Plusquin1, An-Sofie Stevens1, Katrien De Mulder2, Frank Vanbelleghem1, Peter Ladurner2, Ann Cuypers1, Tom Artois1, Karen Smeets1
1Hasselt University, Belgium; 2University of Innsbruck

As innovative model organisms in stem cell research, the flatworm species Schmidtea mediterranea and Macrostomum lignano were used to characterize carcinogenic events. To discover potential biomarkers, RNAi knockdown and qPCR profiling were combined. Both cancer inducers as well as blockers were used and differential expression was compared. Underlying mechanisms involve oxidative stress related processes resulting in altered gene expression profiles in function of (stem) cell proliferation. As heat shock proteins (HSP) appear to play a significant role herein, the effect of a chemotherapeutic HSP blocker was evaluated. The value of both RNAi experiments as well as gene expression profiling is highlighted in this presentation, and an overview of carcinogenic stress mechanisms and their interactions is given.

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