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Researchers find molecular switch turning on self-renewal of liver damage
Date:3/7/2013

de almost indefinitely resembles the ability of stem cells to self-renew and this finding challenges the current focus on stem cells and stem cell therapy.

Self-renewal programs in non-stem cells

The new results from Bo Porse's research group are consistent with new studies of self-renewal in the group of white blood cells called macrophages.

"We see a clear overlap in the molecular mechanisms controlling self-renewal in hepatocytes and macrophages and that could indicate the existence of a more general self-renewal program used by specialised cell types. If this is the case, it can really change the current perception that only stem cells are responsible for renewal of our tissues," says Janus Schou Jakobsen.

The study addresses basic research questions, but if it can be shown that one can turn on and off specific sets of genes, making many types of specialised cells divide, it can have great impact on future regenerative treatments. It is very likely easier to make a specialised cell copy itself, than to extract the very scarce stem cells and accurately reprogram them to the specialised cell type of need.

Self-renewal and cancer development

The research in Bo Porse's laboratory focusses both on tissue renewal and on how mistakes in the genetic control mechanisms can give rise to cancer.

"Currently, so-called cancer stem cells receive much attention - these are single cancer cells that are difficult to kill. They have taken over stem cell programs enabling them to divide uncontrolled and to reform an entire tumour. It is likely that cancer cells can also hijack the self-renewal programs we have identified in liver cells. Increased knowledge on these self-renewal programs may therefore lead to a new understanding of cancer cell biology and open up for new treatment strategies," says Bo Porse.

The next step for the researchers is to dig deeper in the molecular understanding of how s
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Contact: Bo Porse
bo.porse@bric.ku.dk
(45) 35-45-60-23
University of Copenhagen
Source:Eurekalert  

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