Navigation Links
New tool illuminates connections between stem cells and cancer
Date:2/20/2010

Researchers have a new tool to understand how cancers grow -- and with it a new opportunity to identify novel cancer drugs. They've been able to break apart human prostate tissue, extract the stem cells in that tissue, and alter those cells genetically so that they spur cancer.

Owen Witte, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of California, Los Angeles, will present the findings on February 20, 2010, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Many tissues contain pools of stem cells that replenish the tissue when it's damaged or when changes take place. For instance, stem cells in the skin produce new cells to replace those irreparably damaged by the sun, and stem cells in the breast create milk-producing cells when a woman is pregnant. The hallmark of these stem cells is that they self-renew. This means that in addition to making cells with a specific function, they also make many new stem cells.

Mounting evidence suggests that these self-renewing cells are also tied to cancer. They tend to collect mutations, says Witte, and not much separates tumor cells, with their capacity for unchecked growth, from healthy, tissue-forming stem cells. "These cells have a huge capacity for self-renewal, and when the pathways that control self-renewal are augmented or changed, they can form tumors," says Witte.

Many scientists suspect that although tumors are made up of many cells, only the tumor cells derived from stem cells contribute to the growth of the tumor. For certain cancers, such as breast cancer and leukemia, that idea is well established. For others, such as prostate cancer, which Witte studies, the data are not conclusive.

Witte's group has been analyzing the relationship between tissue stem cells and cancer stem cells in the prostate. They have been attacking this problem by dividing mouse prostate tissue into its component cell types, culturing those cells, and then reassembling them to understand how they interact. Now, for the first time, they've accomplished that feat with human tissue. Importantly, they've also engineered specific genetic changes into human prostate stem cells to transform them into cancer cells.

The group is in the early stages of putting the technique to use, but Witte says it offers some distinct advantages for developing new cancer drugs. Cells can be grown directly from a prostate tumor for use in experiments, but without knowing the precise genetics of those cells, scientists may never know why they became cancerous. Drugs that are effective in stopping their growth may not have the same impact on prostate tumors driven by different gene mutations. Starting from prostate stem cells, Witte knows exactly which genetic changes have made a cell cancerous.

"Here you can preprogram the genetic buffet, and then evaluate a compound in the face of those specific changes," says Witte.

That precision should speed the development of a new generation of fine-tuned cancer therapies. The new system should give scientists a firmer grasp of the genetic makeup of cells that are affected by particular compounds, and by extension, help clinicians identify the drugs that will best help particular patients. "The field of cancer research has produced a significant number of major new targeted therapies," says Witte. "Now we have to understand how best to use those therapies."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer Michalowski
michalow@hhmi.org
301-215-8576
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Pittsburgh Neurosurgeons Explore Use of Drug that Illuminates Brain Tumor Cells To Guide Surgery
2. Carefx's Newest White Paper Illuminates Healthcare CIOs' Growing Role in Operations, Strategic Thinking and IT Project Decision Making
3. Carefxs Newest White Paper Illuminates Healthcare CIOs Growing Role in Operations, Strategic Thinking and IT Project Decision Making
4. Neuron connections seen in 3-D
5. Misconnections in Developing Brain May Cause Autism
6. Study shows new brain connections form rapidly during motor learning
7. Performance Connections International Announces New Research Focusing on the Impact of Employee Engagement in the New Economy
8. NetMotion Wireless Publishes New Healthcare White Paper: Secure, Reliable Connections for Better Patient Care
9. New PBS Documentary Website Offers Unprecedented Look at Human Emotions and Provides Tools for Building Social Connections
10. Making connections the key to overcoming shame
11. FaxBack Announces a New VoIP Fax ATA, based on HTTPS, Which Provides a Level of Quality for VoIP Faxing Equal to PSTN Connections
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from ... avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this ... coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) learned ... receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance research and ... by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in fighting pulmonary ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to ... Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort ... quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine ... Making in Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor ... Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... is actively feeding the Frederick area economy by obtaining investment capital for emerging ... the past 2½ years that have already resulted in more than a million ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ... company developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that it ... Russell Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of U.S. ... "This is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," said ... increase shareholder awareness of our progress in developing drugs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  MedSource announced today ... its e-clinical software solution of choice.  This latest ... possible value to their clients by offering a ... preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform ... MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... "Pharmaceutical Excipients Market by Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, ... (Oral, Topical, Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast to 2021" ... The global pharmaceutical excipients market is ... a CAGR of 6.1% in the forecast period 2016 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: