Molecular Oncology Programme

Tumour Suppression Group

Group Leader:  Manuel Serrano

Tumour suppressors are genes that can prevent the development of cancer. All our cells have a functional set of these genes, but they can become defective over time. The affected cells thus become partially unprotected and, combined with additional mutations in other genes, can give rise to cancer. Understanding how tumour suppressor genes work may help us to design drugs that block cancer. Tumour suppressor genes are now known to control many aspects of cell biology and organismal physiology, such as cellular pluripotency, cell senescence, and metabolism. We aim to achieve an integrated understanding of cancer protection.

Our goals are to:
  • Understand the mechanisms of tumour suppression and identify new tumour suppressor regulators.
  • Study the interplay between tumour suppression and ageing.
  • Analyse the involvement of tumour suppressors in the regulation of metabolism and protection from metabolic damage.
  • Characterise cellular senescence as a tumour suppression mechanism.
  • Investigate cellular pluripotency and the involvement of tumour suppressors in the process of reprogramming to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
  • Explore the role of cell plasticity in cancer, tissue regeneration, and ageing.
  • Search for new frontiers in cell plasticity.