Current research projects


Ruth Ganss’s current studies aim to identify convergent and common mechanisms in the pathogenesis of two major disease groups, namely cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Cancer To reach tumour cells within a cancer, immune cells and drugs must enter the tumour blood vessels, cross the vessel wall, and find their way through tumour stroma. We have shown that tortuous tumour blood vessels are a critical barrier that limits anti-cancer therapy at the tumour site. Our laboratory seeks to understand molecular mechanisms of vascular and stromal remodelling inside tumours.

Our goal is to develop new therapies which exploit the dynamic nature of tumour stroma. This includes novel approaches which combine stromal re-programming with strategies to eliminate cancer cells such as cytotoxic or immune therapies which will provide longer lasting anti-cancer effects.

Figure 1: Blood vessels in healthy and cancerous tissue. Source: Ruth Ganss

Various blood vessels

 

Cardiovascular diseases Cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis are manifestations of vascular dysfunction. We have recently discovered a molecule which not only regulates tumour angiogenesis but is also a key regulator of vascular function in normal individuals and as such regulates blood pressure homeostasis and arterial wall remodelling. We have developed new mouse models of highest clinical relevance to study its role in blood pressure regulation and atherosclerosis.

 

Figure 2: Blood vessels from individuals with normal blood pressure and hypertension.

Source: Holobotovskyy et al. Circ. Res. 2013

Various blood vessels

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