Navigation Links
Normal stem cells made to look and act like cancer stem cells

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, after isolating normal stem cells that form the developing placenta, have given them the same properties of stem cells associated with an aggressive type of breast cancer.

The scientific first opens the door for developing novel targeted therapies aimed at triple negative breast cancer. Known also as TNBC, this is a highly recurrent tumor that spreads aggressively beyond its original site in the breast and carries a poor prognosis for patients who have it.

The study will be published online Friday, May 6, by the journal Cell Stem Cell.

"We changed only one amino acid in normal tissue stem cells, trophoblast stem cells. While they maintained their self-renewal, these mutant stem cells had properties very similar to what people predict in cancer stem cells: they were highly mobile and highly invasive," said Gary Johnson, PhD, professor and chair of pharmacology at UNC and senior study author. "No one has ever isolated a stem cell like that." Johnson is also a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

In normal development, epithelial stem cells called trophoblasts are involved in the formation of placental tissue. To do so, they must undergo a conversion to tissue-like cells. These then travel to the site in the uterus where they revert to a noninvasive tissue cell. "But the mutant trophoblast stem cells made in our lab, which would normally invade the uterus and then stop, just keep going," Johnson said.

The study led by the first authors, research assistant professor Amy N. Abell, PhD and graduate student Nicole Vincent Jordan, both working in Johnson's lab, showed that similar to triple-negative breast cancer stem cells, normal tissue stem cells also go through the same program of molecular changes during organ development called epithelial mesenchymal transition, or EMT. This suggests that breast cancer cells utilize this tissue stem cell molecular program for tumor metastasis, or cancer spread.

The discovery was made using a unique mouse model of tissue stem cell EMT developed in the Johnson laboratory. The study identified two proteins that regulate the expression of specific genes in tissue stem cells during organ development that control normal EMT. Inactivation of the proteins MAP3K4 and CBP in trophoblast stem cells causes them to become hyperinvasive.

In collaboration with Aleix Prat, PhD and Charles Perou, PhD in the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the research team made another discovery: an overlap between the gene expression signature of the mutant tissue stem cells properties during EMT and the triple-negative human breast cancer gene signature that's predictive of invasiveness. The same genes were downregulated.

"This significant genetic intersection between tissue stem cells and TNBC has identified previously unrecognized genes that likely contribute to breast cancer metastasis," said Johnson. "This newly identified gene signature is currently being investigated in different models of breast cancer with the goal of developing new therapeutic interventions for the treatment of TNBC."


Contact: Les Lang
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. After Treatment for Precancerous Cervical Lesions, Risk Drops to Normal for Some
2. Berkeley Lab scientists find that normal breast cells help kill cancer cells
3. Feinstein scientists identify abnormal disease pathway in dystonia
4. Alzheimers-like brain changes found in cognitively normal elders with amyloid plaques
5. Leukemia Patients Taking Gleevec Achieve Normal Death Rate
6. Redefining normal blood pressure
7. Abnormal neural activity recorded from the deep brain of Parkinsons disease and dystonia patients
8. Scientists Link Sets of Genetic Abnormalities to Autism Risk
9. A small subset of normal white blood cells gives rise to a rare leukemia, study shows
10. Study finds close linkage between a rare, deadly lung condition and blood cell abnormalities
11. Male cancer survivor offspring slightly higher risk of congenital birth abnormalities
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Normal stem cells made to look and act like cancer stem cells
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... its exceptional customer service: the TrustDale certification. The award recognizes good companies for ... stone honing , tile and grout, and hard surface restoration company earned this ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... Bibliomotion is thrilled to announce the launch ... and Diversity by Nancy M. Schlichting, Chief Executive Officer of Henry Ford ... address the needs of patients and their families, shaped my desire to improve the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... Dr. Kevin Day, local family chiropractor in Warsaw , is ... season. During the Indiana winter months, Vitamin D deficiency can lead to Seasonal ... want to help provide the tools needed to combat it this year! , “Stress ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... Don Peck’s mother wondered if she was a descendant of Samuel Fuller, a passenger on ... search for information, Don and his aunt discovered that she was not, in fact, related ... was Don’s father who was descended from not one, but four passengers on the famed ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... World ... Fragrance by Marcelle, a cosmetic invention which offers a combination of natural essential ... in the US is worth $3 billion annually," says Scott Cooper, CEO and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... F1000Workspace - a research collaboration, reference management and ... six months ago. --> F1000Workspace - a ... since it was launched just six months ago. --> ... F1000Workspace - a research collaboration, reference management and authoring ... months ago. --> --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Family Rentals, ... recently announced the launch of their newly designed, ... --> --> ... --> --> Now, renting ... travel and vacation, just got a whole lot ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Pa. , Nov. 24, 2015  NuShield, Inc., an industry leader in LCD screen protection ... and stationary computer technology as part of their patient monitoring or electronic documentation system. ... ... ... A ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: