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Protein in Human Embryonic Stem Cells Controls Malignant Tumor Cells
Date:3/5/2008

odal expression and tumor growth in both metastatic melanoma and breast cancer cells, the breast cancer cells underwent more complex reprogramming. Melanoma cells responded to the hESC-derived factors within three days, but breast cancer cells required two additional days to achieve the most significant reduction in Nodal.

This discrepancy is likely due to differences in signaling mechanisms between the two cell types. Yet, despite the inherent differences between melanoma cells and breast cancer cells, these divergent tumor types both underwent cell suicide following exposure to the hESC microenvironment.

"The remarkable similarity of the responses of the two tumor types is likely attributable to the commonality of plasticity (for example, the aberrant and unregulated expression of Nodal) that indiscriminately unifies highly aggressive cancer cells, regardless of their tissue of origin," Hendrix said.

"Further, the tumor suppressive effects of the hESC microenvironment, by neutralizing the expression of Nodal in aggressive tumor cells, provide previously unexplored novel therapeutic modalities for cancer treatment," Hendrix said.

However, while findings from the study suggest that hESC-derived Lefty may have potential to prevent metastasis, it is not the only tumor suppressive factor within the embryonic microenvironment.

Observations from the study highlight the potential utility of isolating factors within the hESC microenvironment responsible for influencing tumor cell fate and reversing the cancerous properties of metastatic tumor cells, such as melanoma and breast cancer.

Additional contributing authors on the study include N. Margaryan; E. Seftor; D. Kirschmann; D. Abbott; W. Wheaton; A. Lipavsky; and R. Seftor.

This study was supported by grants from the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute; the National Institutes of Health (CA50702 and CA121205); the Charlotte Geyer Foundation (to Dr. Hendr
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SOURCE Northwestern University
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