prof. Olivier De Wever (PhD)

CRIG group leader
Olivier De Wever

Principal investigator - Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research
Associate professor (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent)
Co-founder of CRIG and member of the CRIG Steering Committee

 

Research focus

Metastasis is the main cause of death for cancer patients. To colonize distant organs, cancer cells communicate with their environment to overcome obstacles such as infiltration of foreign tissues and adaptation to supportive niches. Although metastasis is an inefficient process; we currently fail to understand it, to prevent it and to have durable responses.
In the past 16 years I and my research group dedicated its resources to improve the understanding of the communicative determinants between cancer cells and their host tissue. The results of this research can be clustered in 4 topics:
1)    The creation of models to study metastasis-associated cellular activities
2)    The identification of adaptive communication skills between cancer cells and host cells (cancer-associated adipose tissue and fibroblast)
3)    The impact of radiotherapy on the communication skills between cancer cells and host cells
4)    The exploitation of tumor-envrionment interactions as therapy or biomarker

Biography

Since I started my PhD I dedicated my scientific life to understand the involvement of the tumor environment to cancer progression. During my PhD I published seminal fundamental papers showing the importance of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in colon cancer progression (FASEBJ, J Pathol, J Cell Science papers). This work is highly cited. During my post-doc I continued to focus on the origin of CAFs  (GUT paper) and expanded my research into adipose tissue (Cancer Res paper) and the secretory mechanisms of pro-metastatic signals (JNCI, Cancer Res papers). During my post-doc I was a regular visiting scientist at NIH (Bethesda, US) and Centre de Recherche Hôpital Saint-Antoine (Paris, France). The current lab is an ecosystem to study tumor-environment interactions  including response to therapy of CAFs (paper in preparation), and exploitation of CAFs as therapy (Biomaterials paper) and extracellular vesicles as novel diagnostic tool (Nature methods under revision). In my 16 years long scientific career I published more than 110 A1 papers, I have an H-index of 30 and I’m editorial board member of an important oncology journal; Cancer Research.

Research team

Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research

Key publications

  • Cancer-associated adipose tissue promotes breast cancer progression by paracrine Oncostatin M and Jak/STAT3 signaling. Cancer Res 2014
  • The impact of disparate isolation methods for extracellular vesicles on downstream RNA profiling. J. Extracell Vesicles 2014
  • Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts provide operational flexibility in metastasis. Seminars in Cancer Biology, 2014.
  • Tumor-environment biomimetics delay peritoneal metastasis formation by deceiving and redirecting disseminated cancer cells. Biomaterials, 2015.
  • JAK3 deregulation by activating mutations confers invasive growth advantage in extranodal nasal-type natural killer cell lymphoma. Leukemia, 2013.
  • Bone marrow-derived  mesenchymal stem cells promote colorectal cancer progression through paracrine neuregulin 1/HER3 signaling. Gut, 2013.
  • Radiation-induced lung damage promotes breast cancer lung-metastasis through CXCR4 signaling. Oncotarget, 2015
  • An ex(o)citing machinery for invasive tumor growth, Cancer Res, 2010.
  • Effect of the secretory small GTPase Rab27B on breast cancer growth, invasion, and metastasis, J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 2010.
  • Tenascin-C and SF/HGF produced by myofibroblasts in vitro provide convergent pro-invasive signals to human colon cancer cells through RhoA and Rac.  FASEB J., 2004

Contact & links