Financing: SECRET is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 859962
Duration: January 2020 – December 2023
Our international consortium is composed of 8 academic institutions and 3 companies with the support of 6 partner organisations. The 11 SECRET host institutions are based in Stuttgart, Oslo, Freiburg, Naples, Amsterdam, Vienna, Tel Aviv , Barcelona, Freiburg and Athens:
The high proliferation rate and the invasive properties common to cancer cells rely on active secretory machineries. Tumour cell secretion contributes to the following hallmarks of cancer: 1) hyperproliferation; 2) evasion of growth suppression; 4) loss of cell polarity; 5) activation of cell motility, invasion and metastasis; 6) shaping of the tumour microenvironment through altered presentation of proteins and the cancer secretome; 5) resistance to cell death.
Dysregulated secretion can thus be considered as a major driver of cancer progression and therefore holds promise as a general therapeutic target for the treatment of solid cancers including triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) and colorectal cancer (CRC), irrespective of the mutational status.
However, while it is intuitively clear that tumour growth and metastasis are linked to secretion, strategies for therapeutic exploitation of the secretory pathway are still in their infancy. This can be explained by the incomplete understanding of how the secretory pathway is dysregulated by aberrant signalling in cancer cells. This lack of knowledge hinders efforts to exploit the secretory pathway for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes.
The overall research objective of SECRET is to drive the understanding of the mutual regulation of the secretory pathway and cell signalling in cancer, which together with our current knowledge, will serve as a platform to identify and interrogate novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for application in TNBC and CRC.