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Developmental molecular pathways in drosophila as a model for human cancer

Activity Code: HEALTH-2007-2.4.1-8
Coordinator: Prof. Dr Michael Boutros, German Cancer Research Centre


Cancer is often characterized as a disease of signal transduction pathways, since it is frequently associated with inappropriate activation of such pathways. Indeed, new therapeutic approaches in cancer therapy, such as Herceptin, frequently target signalling pathway components to revert their pathophysiological aberrations. Most oncogenic pathways have been highly conserved throughout evolution with Drosophila representing a particularly powerful genetic model for the analysis of such signaling cascades. These cancer pathways include Wnt, Notch, Hippo and JAK/STAT pathways.

The analysis of signalling pathways in Drosophila is facilitated by the availability of a broad range of genetic tools, a completely sequenced genome and the availability of genome-wide collections of RNAi reagents. Within this project, we will establish high-throughput cell-based assays for regulators of the major developmental oncogenic signalling pathways. Cell-based assays for signalling pathways will be screened using genome-wide RNAi and small molecule compound libraries to identify new components, regulators and targets.

Project Details:

Start Date: 01.05.2008
End Date: 30.04.2011
EU Contribution: 2,995,295 Euro
Total Costs: 4.44 Mio. Euro
Funding Scheme: Small or medium-scale focused research project
Scientific Coordinator: Prof. Dr Michael Boutros, m.boutros@dkfz.de
Project Website:


  • German Cancer Research Centre, Germany
  • Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie, Austria
  • Cancer Research UK, United Kingdom
  • Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Szegedi Biológiai Kozpontja, Hungary
  • Europäisches Laboratorium für Molekularbiologie - EMBL, Germany
  • The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche, Spain
  • University College London, United Kingdom