Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cancer cells and stem cells share same origin

19.07.2011
Scientists at the Keck School of Medicine of USC grow brain cells from skin

Oncogenes are generally thought to be genes that, when mutated, change healthy cells into cancerous tumor cells. Scientists at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) have proven that those genes also can change normal cells into stem-like cells, paving the way to a safer and more practical approach to treating diseases like multiple sclerosis and cancer with stem cell therapy.

"The reality may be more complicated than people think," said Jiang F. Zhong, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology at the Keck School. "What is a stem cell gene? What is a cancer gene? It may be the same thing."

Zhong and colleagues at the Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) in California and Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in New York successfully converted human skin cells into brain cells by suppressing the expression of p53, a protein encoded by a widely studied oncogene. This suggests that p53 mutation helps determine cell fate — good or bad — rather than only the outcome of cancer.

The study is slated to appear in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the week of July 18, 2011.

"When you turn off p53, people think the cell becomes cancerous because we tend to focus on the bad thing," Zhong said. "Actually, the cell becomes more plastic and could do good things, too. Let's say the cell is like a person who loses his job (the restriction of p53). He could become a criminal or he could find another job and have a positive effect on society. What pushes him one way or the other, we don't know because the environment is very complicated."

Stem cells can divide and differentiate into different types of cells in the body. In humans, embryonic stem cells differentiate into three families, or germ layers, of cells. The reasons why and how certain stem cells differentiate into particular layers are not clearly understood. However, from those layers, tissues and organs develop. The endoderm, for example, leads to formation of the stomach, colon and lungs, while the mesoderm forms blood, bone and heart tissue. In its study, Zhong's team examined human skin cells, which are related to brain and neural cells from the ectoderm.

When p53 was suppressed, the skin cells developed into cells that looked exactly like human embryonic stem cells. But, unlike other man-made stem cells that are "pluripotent" and can become any other cells in the body, these cells differentiated only into cells from the same germ layer, ectoderm.

"IPSCs [induced pluripotent stem cells] can turn into anything, so they are hard to control," Zhong said. "Our cells are staying within the ectoderm lineage."

Zhong said he expects that suppressing other oncogenes in other families of cells would have the same effect, which could have critical significance for stem cell therapy. Future research should focus on determining which genes to manipulate, Zhong said.

This study was supported by the CHOC Children's Foundation, CHOC Neuroscience Institute, Austin Ford Tribute Fund, W. M. Keck Foundation, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

Alison Trinidad | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>