Melanoma is a very aggressive tumor originating from neural-crest derived melanocytes. The transformation of normal melanocytes into melanoma cells is a multistep process. It is crucial to elucidate the molecular and cellular mechanisms of melanocyte development (specially the molecular network that controls the induction of neural crest) and transformation, to improve the prevention, early diagnosis, prognosis and therapy.
Our research combines molecular approaches based on an understanding of the signaling associated with extracellular factors, a cellular approach based on an understanding of the establishment/maintenance and alteration of the melanocyte lineage and an approach based on animal models that will be used to test specific innovative treatments. In fine, we expect that we can ultimately propose new prognostic markers for melanoma and improved therapeutic treatments.