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Georgetown researchers find stem cell marker controls 2 key cancer pathways
Date:4/14/2008

g cancer researchers.

It is really critical to understand if stem cells are involved in cancer development because a lot of therapies used to treat cancer dont target stem cells, he says. That may explain why tumors come back.

In laboratory experiments, the scientists found that, in mammary cell development, Msi1 drives mammary cells along different lineages in other words, it can decide what type of cell develops in the breast, be it muscle cells or cells that line milk ducts, etc.

In cancer, the Wnt and Notch pathways are often activated, and the researchers found that Msi1 is expressed in particularly aggressive tumors. The researchers then tested whether Msi1 regulates these pathways in mammary cells and found that it did.

The researchers then studied how Msi1 drives the Wnt and Notch pathways found that when Msi1 was over-expressed, there was an increased secretion of a growth factor known as proliferin, and reduced secretion of the Wnt pathway inhibitor, Dickkopf-3. Additionally, Msi1 programmed the expression of a number of genes that have a concerted effect on the cell cycle, Wang says.

We believe that while Msi1 may contribute to cell proliferation, it is not the single gene that controls cancer development, Glazer says.

This work suggests, but does not prove, that stem cells drive breast cancer formation, he says. Msi1 might make a good therapeutic target, and we are currently testing ways to interfere with its function in cells to see if it disrupts cancer cell proliferation.


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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
414-312-7085
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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