Navigation Links
New research validates clinical importance of leukemia stem cells
Date:8/28/2011

(Toronto Aug. 28, 2011) Cancer scientists have long debated whether all cells within a tumour are equal or whether some cancer cells are more potent - a question that has been highly investigated in experimental models in the last decade. Research published today in Nature Medicine (10.1038/nm.2415) focuses on patients and shows that acute myeloid leukemia (AML) contains rare cells with stem cell properties, called leukemia stem cells (LSC), that are better at predicting clinical outcome than the majority of AML cells, showing for the first time that LSCs are significant not just in experimental models but also in patients.

"Even though LSCs are like a needle in a haystack, their unique properties influence whether AML will respond to therapy or whether the disease comes back. This means that future efforts to prevent the disease from recurring and improving overall patient survival must consider ways to target LSCs to ensure they are killed," says principal investigator John Dick, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology and is a Senior Scientist at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital. Dr. Dick pioneered the cancer stem cell field by identifying leukemia stem cells in 1994 and colon cancer stem cells in 2007.

By sorting, analyzing and comparing healthy stem cells, leukemia stem cells and clinical data, Dr. Dick's international research team uncovered a set of genes, or signature, that was common to both normal and LSCs and showed that the set could accurately predict the course of disease in the patients studied. Patients that strongly expressed the stem cell signature had much shorter survival than those patients that had low expression of the signature. The research team included post-doctoral fellows Kolja Eppert, Eric Lechman and Katsuto Takenaka and PhD student Peter van Galen.

The genes within the stem cell signature provide new drug targets that could be used to eliminate LSCs. These genes also represent potential AML biomarkers that could be used to identify those patients that might benefit from more aggressive therapy. In the long term, this information could be used to personalize cancer therapy and get the right drug to the right patient, as opposed to a "one-size-fits-all" approach of treating groups of patients identically.

"Although our research was on AML, our findings that LSCs are real and relevant in patients set the entire cancer stem cell field on a firmer footing. Our approach could be used as a template to test the clinical importance of cancer stem cells from solid tumors and other forms of leukemia," says Dr. Dick, who works out of UHN's Ontario Cancer Institute where stem-cell science began 50 years ago and alongside this generation's other leading stem-cell scientists at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

Dr. Dick recently isolated normal human blood stem cells and developed the first means to collect them in large quantities. As well as being a Senior Scientist at UHN's Princess Margaret and Toronto General Hospitals, he is a Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, and Director of the Cancer Stem Cell Program at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.


'/>"/>

Contact: Geoff Koehler
geoff.koehler@uhn.on.ca
416-340-4011
University Health Network
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researcher finds altered cerebella in those with Down syndrome
2. New Keck award spurs research for low-cost, mass measurements
3. George Mason research team uncovers new factor in HIV infection
4. UC Davis researchers find disease-causing fat cells in those with metabolic syndrome
5. Researchers uncover source of Haitian cholera outbreak
6. Hawaii receives funding for liver cancer research
7. VBI, Convey Computer partner to deliver technology to biomedical, life sciences researchers
8. Cleveland researchers collaborate to launch Phase 1 clinical trial for new MS treatment
9. Learning secrets of worlds most common organic compound driving research for biofuels
10. UT researchers develop algorithm to improve remote electrocardiography
11. TGen and DTU researchers track source of Haitian cholera outbreak
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/18/2016)... --> --> Competitive Landscape ... Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems ... market and the continuing migration crisis in the ... has led visiongain to publish this unique report, which is ... & security companies in the border security market and ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... , March 15, 2016 Yissum Research ... the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, announced today ... remote sensing technology of various human biological indicators. Neteera ... $2.0 million from private investors. ... on the detection of electromagnetic emissions from sweat ducts, ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... March 11, 2016 http://www.apimages.com ) - ... Picture is available at AP Images ( http://www.apimages.com ) - ... be used to produce the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will ... at CeBIT in Hanover next week.   ... will be used to produce the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... --  MedyMatch Technology Ltd ., the data analytics healthcare company ... tools in the emergency room, announced today that it has ... Industries (IATI) BioMed Conference. The Conference is ... Life Sciences and Technology Week, and is being held May ... Tel Aviv, Israel . Gene Saragnese , ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Media Cybernetics, global ... Media Cybernetics corporate branding reflects a results-driven revitalization for a company with a ... re-branding components include a crisp, refreshed logo and a new web presence. , ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... ... Precision Farming in 2017 and Beyond. The paper outlines the key trends that ... ag industry. , “We’ve witnessed a lot of highs and lows as the ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... -- Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry will ... ET before the United States House Committee on Science, Space ... in controlling the spread of the Aedes aegypti ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150630/227348 ) Oxitec has ... Trials in Brazil , Panama ...
Breaking Biology Technology: