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Cancer research

In the area of cancer research, both, basic research aiming to gain a deeper understanding into the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cancer progression and drug resistance, and translational research focused on the discovery and validation of cancer biomarkers and the development of novel technologies and therapeutic approaches is carried out. Currently, four research groups are working in this direction. The Cancer Cell Biology and Melanoma Research group led by Dr. Ērenpreisa and Dr. Pjanova is studying reversible polyploidy, autophagy and accelerated cell senescence in combination with genetic and epigenetic changes in tumour cells thus contributing to deeper understanding in drug resistance mechanisms that in turn open up new avenues for overcoming drug resistance. The Cancer Biomarker group led by Prof. Linē is focusing on the development of liquid biopsy assays for non-invasive detection of cancer, monitoring of treatment efficacy and tracking tumour evolution. The main sources of biomarkers are extracellular vesicles (EVs), cell-free DNA and RNA. In parallel, the group is studying the uptake and function effects of EVs in various recipient cells. The Cancer Gene Therapy group led by Dr. Zajakina develops alphavirus-based gene therapy vectors to find efficient strategy for cancer treatment. The group uses a wide variety of alphavirus vectors as promising candidates for transient intratumoural delivery of therapeutic genes. The main focus of the group is the design of clinically translatable vectors synergizing the effects of immunotherapy and chemotherapy. In 2020, Dr. Ābols established his own group that is focusing on the development of various Lab-on-a-Chip devices for basic cancer research as well as development of novel diagnostic tools and testing of advanced therapies. All these studies are carried out in a close cooperation with major hospitals in Latvia and a wide network of local and international collaborators.

A. Linē lab

D. Pjanova lab

A. Zajakina lab

A. Ābola lab