Research teams 

    Research programme No. 1 - Tumour Microenvironment

      • Prof Karel Smetana, MD, DSc
    • Barbora Dvořánková, PhD; Lukáš Lacina, MD, PhD

Under the guidance of Professor Smetana, this research programme involves studies in the areas of diagnostics and therapy of cancers associated with the head, neck and skin mucosa. The research efforts are concentrated on clinical screening and monitoring of patients, including disease progression, collection of biological material, gathering of relevant data, and continuous histological and immunohistochemical sample analyses. Beside cell populations, studies are focused on the molecular composition of the tumour environment, namely growth factors, chemokines, cytokines, as well as extracellular matrix components. Interactions between particular cell types in malignant tumours are modelled in the tissue culture settings.

Research programme No. 2 - Molecular Diagnostic and Therapeutic Targets

  • Prof Aleksi Šedo, MD, DSc
  • Petr Bušek, MD, PhD

This research programme under the guidance of prof. Šedo involves studies in the field of neuro-oncology. Biological material obtained from patients with brain tumours serves both for direct analyses (transcriptomics, enzymatic analyses, immunoassays, etc.) and for derivation of primary cultures of transformed as well as stromal cells and their characterization. Work is focused on identification and utilization of candidate molecular targets for diagnosis and therapeutic intervention.

Research programme No. 3 - Molecular Recognition and Drug Design

  • Milan Jakubek, PhD
  • Prof Pavel Martásek, MD, DSc; Michal Dvořák, PhD

Within the BIOCEV project, this programme supervised by Jakubek PhD involves studies aimed at developing multifunctional ligands (MTDLs) intervening in the exchange of information between cancer cells and other cells of the ecosystem with the objective to influence the biological properties of the tumour (growth and migration). The effectiveness of such multi-targeted ligands will be increased after their immobilization on multi-functional dendrimers and modified nanoparticles (NP).

Research programme No. 4 - Cancer Cell Invasiveness 

  • Assoc. Prof Jan Brábek, PhD
  • Assoc. Prof Daniel Rösel, PhD

The research programme of Assoc. Prof Brábek and Assoc. Prof Rösel is focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cancer cell motility and invasiveness and its plasticity, including study of the cell structures required for the cancer cell invasiveness. The laboratory discovered and characterized amoeboid invasiveness and metastasising in cells of mesenchymal origin and demonstrated increased generation of traction forces in amoeboid cancer cells. Its members were the first to describe the structure of invadopodia in a complex 3D environment. Later, the group concentrated on the plasticity of cancer cell invasiveness and revealed several signalling molecules important for this process. Recently, the group has defined and postulated a novel category of anti-cancer agents aimed at inhibition of invasiveness and metastasising - migrastatics.

Research programme No. 5 - Viral Oncogenesis

  • Ruth Tachezy, PhD
  • Michal Šmahel, PhD

The main objective of the programme supervised by Ruth Tachezy and Michal Šmahel is to analyse the tumour microenvironment in malignancies of various aetiology - both viral and non-viral. Beside clinical material, the project exploits human cell lines and mouse tumour models. Analysis is focused on subpopulations of tumour-infiltrating immune cells and their functional characteristics, as well as on biomarkers typical of tumours of particular aetiology. The mouse tumour models are used for studies of the effect of combined immunotherapies and anti-tumour effects of low molecular weight inhibitors.

Research programme No. 6 - Cancer Proteomics 

  • Helena Kupcová Skalníková, PhD
  • Jiřina Tylečková, PhD

Under the guidance of Helena Kupcová Skalníková, the research programme 6 conducted at the Laboratory of Applied Proteome Analyses of the Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics ASCR involves complex studies of proteins at various cellular levels. Investigated are cytokines, chemokines, growth factors and extracellular vesicles released into the tumour microenvironment or body fluids. Along with that, mass spectrometry is used for global comparison of the protein profiles of cells and directed quantification of selected proteins. Beside analyses of clinical samples performed mainly in collaboration with RP1, the research group of tumour proteomics has available its own breed of the porcine MeLiM melanoma model, in which they study the effect of the tumour microenvironment on tumour progression or regression.

Research programme No. 7 - Cancer Genetics and Transcriptomics

  • Michal Kolář, PhD
  • Čestmír Vlček, PhD

The focus of this programme led by Michal Kolář and Čestmír Vlček lies on advanced genomic and transcriptomic analyses of clinical samples and cellular components of the tumour microenvironment, particularly tumour-associated fibroblasts. Samples are quantified at the whole-genome level using the most recent high-throughput sequencing methods. The transcriptome analyses are also performed at the single-cell level and allow characterisation of various cell subpopulations of the tumour microenvironment. Subsequently, data are processed by bioinformatic and statistical methods. These activities of the group complement and extend the findings obtained in research programmes 1, 3 and 6.