Navigation Links
Biologists find way to reduce stem cell loss during cancer treatment

Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that a gene critical for programmed cell death is also important in the loss of adult stem cells, a finding that could help to improve the health and well-being of patients undergoing cancer treatment.

"During chemotherapy or radiation therapy that kills cancer cells by inducing significant DNA damage in their genomes, one of the main side effects for human cancer patients is the depletion of their own adult stem cells, particularly the ones responsible for making new blood and intestine cells. So these patients become anemic, lose appetite and a lot of weight," said Yang Xu, a professor of biology at UC San Diego who headed the team that published its findings in this week's advance online issue of the journal Nature Cell Biology. "If we can prevent the loss of stem cells during cancer therapy, that would be very beneficial for these patients."

Scientists have long known that when normal cells accumulate significant amount of DNA damage, such as during cancer therapy, the tumor suppressor p53 is activated, which leads cells to stop dividing, go into hibernation and undergo a programmed cell death called apoptosis. They've also known that a gene called Puma, an acronym for "p53-unregulated modulator of apoptosis," is critical for p53 to initiate the cell death of DNA-damaged cells.

Using genetically modified mice with persistently activated p53, Xu and his colleagues discovered that, once activated, p53 depletes various adult stem cells, including the ones that are responsible for generating new blood and intestine cells. In addition, Puma is critical for this p53-dependent depletion of various adult stem cells.

"Since p53 is a critical tumor suppressor, you cannot suppress p53 to prevent the depletion of adult stem cells since it will induce cancer," said Xu. "But you can target Puma to prevent p53-mediated depletion of adult stem cells, because a Puma deficiency does not promote the development of cancer. This gives us a nice target for preventing the p53-dependent depletion of adult stem cells in response to DNA damage. If you can suppress Puma function, you can rescue a lot of the adult stem cells that would otherwise be lost after the accumulation of DNA damage such as during cancer therapy."


Contact: Kim McDonald (858) 534-7572,
University of California - San Diego

Related biology news :

1. Caltech biologists spy on the secret inner life of a cell
2. Biologists, educators recognize excellence in evolution education
3. Caltech geobiologists discover unique magnetic death star fossil
4. Biologists discover gene behind plant sex mystery
5. Queens University biologists find new environmental threat in North American lakes
6. Biologists learn structure, mechanism of powerful molecular motor in virus
7. Biologists discover link between CGG repeats in DNA and neurological disorders
8. Biologists solve mystery of black wolves
9. Cleaning up oil spills can kill more fish than spills themselves, say Queens biologists
10. Plant biologists discover gene that switches on essence of male
11. Two innovative University of Texas at Austin biologists become HHMI Early Career Scientists
Post Your Comments:
(Date:3/30/2017)... LOS ANGELES , March 30, 2017  On ... Hack the Genome hackathon at ... This exciting two-day competition will focus on developing health ... experience. Hack the Genome is ... has been tremendous. The world,s largest companies in the ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... PUNE, India , March 28, 2017 ... (Analog, IP, Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), ... Maintenance), Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", ... 30.37 Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach ... 15.4% between 2017 and 2022. The base year considered ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth ... and 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and CEO of VetStem ... The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their Regenerative Powers,” was held ... Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter B. Hanson, M.D., Chief ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... CRUZ, Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017 ... grant from the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), ... kit for profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single ... Analysis Program highlights the need to accelerate development of ... "New techniques for measuring ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The ... prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical ... during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will feature 3 Bar Biologics in an ... on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates nearing ten billion people by 2050, ... a growing nation. At the same time, many of our valuable resources are becoming ...
Breaking Biology Technology: