Dr. Michael Leitges
Canada Research Chair in Cell Signaling and Translational Medicine
Research involves: Using mouse genetics and molecular biological approaches, new ProteinkinaseC/ProteinkinaseD mediated signalling pathways will be identified and its disease relevance, with a focus on cancer, characterized.
Research relevance: This research will identify new drug targets and finally new drugs for a more specific cancer treatment, with less side effects.
Deciphering PKC/PKD kinase functions during cancer development
Kinases are intracellular proteins with pivotal roles for a healthy cell. Deregulation and malfunctions are associated with many human diseases.
Research from Dr. Michael Leitges' lab focused for more than 2 decades on the functional in vivo analysis of individual kinases belonging to the Protein Kinase C family. As a result his group, in collaboration with other scientific groups, has identified certain PKC functions to be associated with the development of very common diseases like diabetes, immune deficiencies and cancer.
For his research, Dr. Leitges uses state-of-the-art molecular biological approaches in combination with mouse genetics. Once new signalling pathways are identified a transfer to the human system is a prerequisite for the development of new drugs. This so-called from bench to bed side approach has been successfully applied by Dr. Leitges in the past and reflects the translational relevance of his work.
A focus of Dr. Leitges' lab is cancer biology. In this context his work provided numbers of new insights regarding PKC signalling during cancer development and defined individual PKCs as promising drug targets. In addition more recent results from his group identified so far unknown signalling pathways, which are essential for tumour development and integrate the PKC/PKD signalling axis. These will be further characterized applying the established technologies in the lab and will serve as future drug targets.
In conclusion, the future work from Dr. Leitges' lab will eventually provide new drugs for cancer treatment, which potentially act more specific and show less harmful side effects.