Riccardo Fodde, a professor of Experimental Pathology at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and fellow of the Royal Dutch Academy of Science (KNAW), delivered a speech entitled “Adult Stem Cells in Homeostasis and Cancer: Beauty and the Beast” to the Zhejiang University community on Zijingang Campus on May 21.
“Stem cells play a crucial role in tissue maintenance, endometrial repair and inflammation,” said Fodde. The research team headed by Prof. Fodde discovered that inflammation can result in a remarkable decline in the proportion of Lgr5+ stem cells in mice with DDS-induced colitis. However, experiments revealed that inflammation can enhance the stemness of colonocytes, which is caused by the transformation of Paneth cells into stem cells in response to inflammation signals. These lines of evidence demonstrated that cells are marked by more plasticity than is imagined. Thus, the insights into cancer stem cells and the molecular mechanisms for the tumor micro-environment are of tremendous significance to the prognosis and therapy of tumors.
Fodde obtained his PhD degree at the Department of Human Genetics of the University of Leiden and developed the first targeted mouse model for intestinal tumorigenesis in the laboratory of Prof. Raju Kucherlapati at the A. Einstein College of Medicine in New York. His group has contributed to the elucidation of the molecular basis of hereditary colorectal cancer in man, developed a large number of pre-clinical mouse models for colorectal carcinogenesis, and characterized novel functional aspects of the APC tumor suppressor gene. During the last decade, the focus of his research has been focused on the role of stem cells in cancer.