Dr. Nicole Beauchemin
Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre
Departments of Biochemistry, Medicine and Oncology
1. Salary Award from Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec, 1988-2005
2. Recipient of the Abbott Award for Research, International Society for Oncodevelopmental Biology and Medicine, 1999
* Please note: Dr. Beauchemin is no longer accepting graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows*
Dr. Beauchemin’s research deals with colon cancer and focuses on the molecular mechanisms of pathways involving CEACAM1 in cancer progression and metastasis. Colon cancer remains a leading cause of death in Canada. It is estimated that 9,600 of Canadians will die of this disease in 2014.
Dr. Beauchemin’s team analyzes:
1. Whether the CEACAM1 gene, an Ig and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) family member, represents a good target for colorectal cancer treatment options.
CEACAM1 (CC1) is dysregulated in many human tumors, including colon tumors. Its expression pattern is paradoxical: it is absent in the very early stages of tumor development, but strongly overexpressed later in stages 3 and 4 human colon cancer. Dr. Beauchemin’s team has shown that Ceacam1-/- normal colonocytes exhibit increased proliferation and decreased apoptosis. This leads to increased colon tumor multiplicity in azoxymethane (AOM)-induced carcinogenesis compared to wild-type littermate controls. Deletion of CC1 also contributes to development of Adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc)-driven intestinal cancer with Ceacam1-/- intestine having decreased intestinal apoptosis. Importantly, CEACAM1 deletion has more impact on tumor progression leading to increased tumor size and more advanced staging. Dr. Beauchemin’s research team has now mapped a whole signalling network involving CEACAM1-L with Receptor Tyrosine Kinases, the STAT3 transcription factor, several chemokines and cytokines. CEACAM1 influences metastasis progression in vivo through this signalling pathway. We are also investigating how the tumor stroma responds to CEACAM1-positive tumors via endothelial cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Furthermore, members of this laboratory are developing new CEACAM1-based inhibitory compounds that would prevent such dramatic cancer progression.
2. Dr. Beauchemin has also developed a long-standing collaboration with Dr. Philippe Gros to identify and characterize colon cancer susceptibility genes using the power of reverse genetics.
A novel gene locus has been identified for azoxymethane-induced colorectal cancer development using A/J-B6 congenic mice and another locus has also been found with a gene(s) responding to azoxymethane and sodium dextran sulfate-induced treatment for inflammation-CRC. These genes have now been mapped and are being functionally analyzed.