Our research aims to examine the molecular mechanisms underlying tumour stromal contributions to tumour growth and therapy efficacy. In particular we are interested in angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels and the cancer associated fibroblasts roles, using a combination of cell type-specific knockout and knockin systems in mouse models of cancer and analysis of the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind these observations.
Dual-action combination therapy enhances angiogenesis while reducing tumor growth and spread. Cancer Cell (2015) 27(1):123-37. PMID: 25584895
Endothelial-FAK is required for the maintenance of chemoresistance. Nature (2014) 2(12): 516–528. PMID: 21154724
Tumour angiogenesis is reduced in the Tc1 mouse model of Down’s syndrome. Nature (2010) 465(7299):813-817. PMID: 20535211
Stimulation of tumor growth and angiogenesis by low concentrations of integrin inhibitors in therapy-resistant tumors. Nature Medicine (2009) 15(4):392-400. PMID: 19305413
Our research aims to examine the molecular mechanisms underlying tumour stromal contributions to tumour growth and therapy efficacy. In particular we are interested in angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels and the cancer associated fibroblasts roles, using a combination of cell type-specific knockout and knockin systems in mouse modelsof cancer and analysis of the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind these observations.
Our research has historically focused on the role of adhesion related molecules including various integrins and downstream signalling molecules in angiogenic processes. Our seminal finding that αvβ3-integrin, rather than promoting neovascularisation, actually acts as a negative regulator of pathological angiogenesis was a major conceptual advance.
These studies also guided us to a better understanding of how low doses of αvβ3 inhibitors can upregulate angiogenesis. Additionally, we have exploited a mouse model of Down’s syndrome to identify that 3 copies of certain chromosome 21 genes can specifically inhibit tumour angiogenesis providing us with a new system to discover novel modulators of neovascularisation.
We have also established the role of stromal focal adhesion kinase (FAK) not only in tumour growth and progression but also in chemoresistance.
Lastly we have pioneered a novel concept in vascular promotion using low doses of RGD mimetics in enhancing the efficacy of cancer therapy.
Our overall goal is to discover novel therapeutic vascular targets to modulate stromal control in the control of cancer.
Tumour angiogenesis is differentially regulated by endothelial cell Focal Adhesion Kinase tyrosine-397 and -861 phosphorylation Pedrosa A-R, BODRUG N, Gomez-Escudero J et al. Cancer Research (2019) (1)
C-type natriuretic peptide co-ordinates cardiac structure and function. Moyes AJ, Chu SM, Aubdool AA et al. Eur Heart J (2019) (2)
A HIF-LIMD1 negative feedback mechanism mitigates the pro-tumorigenic effects of hypoxia. Foxler DE, Bridge KS, Foster JG et al. EMBO Mol Med (2018) (1)
Overcoming the Lack of Oral Availability of Cyclic Hexapeptides: Design of a Selective and Orally Available Ligand for the Integrin αvβ3. Weinmüller M, Rechenmacher F, Kiran Marelli U et al. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl (2017) 56(2) 16405-16409
Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) tyrosine 397E mutation restores the vascular leakage defect in endothelium-specific FAK-kinase dead mice. Alexopoulou AN, Lees DM, Bodrug N et al. J Pathol (2017) 242(2) 358-370
Multiple roles of integrin-α3 at the neuromuscular junction Ross JA, Webster RG, Lechertier T et al. Journal of Cell Science (2017) 130(13) 1772-1784
Dual role of pericyte α6β1-integrin in tumour blood vessels. Reynolds LE, D'Amico G, Lechertier T et al. J Cell Sci (2017) 130(2) 1583-1595
A Promyelocytic Leukemia Protein-Thrombospondin-2 Axis and the Risk of Relapse in Neuroblastoma (vol 22, pg 3398, 2016) Dvorkina M, Nieddu V, Chakelam S et al. CLINICAL CANCER RESEARCH (2017) 23(11) 870-870
Development of non-invasive imaging of integrin alpha-v-beta-6 (alpha v beta 6)-positive lung cancers in advance of testing alpha v beta 6-targeted therapies Rudran B, Desai A, Luzarraga M et al. Lung Cancer (2017) 103(1) S4-S4
Exploring Novel Methods for Modulating Tumor Blood Vessels in Cancer Treatment. Wong P-P, Bodrug N, Hodivala-Dilke KM Curr Biol (2016) 26(2) R1161-R1166
I started my scientific career as a technical assistant, first at The Jodrell Laboratories, Kew Gardens, and then in the Wellcome Trust funded Malaria Research team at Imperial College, London. These short tastes of a scientist’s life fuelled my enthusiasm to embark on a career in research.
Following my undergraduate studies at the University of Southampton (1994) I gained a PhD after studying epithelial cell biology with Professor Fiona Watt at The Imperial Cancer Research Fund. I undertook postdoctoral work with Professor Richard Hynes at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, where my experience in using genetically modified mice began.
I then returned to the UK and was an Imperial Cancer Research Fund tenure-track fellow with Professor Ian Hart, first at St. Thomas’ Hospital and later here at Barts Cancer Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. I was awarded tenure in 2004 and became Professor of Angiogenesis in 2009. I now also stand as Deputy Director of the Barts Cancer Institute since 2012.