The researchers have used these cancer stem cells to test a new therapeutic approach that one day might be used to treat some of the more aggressive types of this disease. The results are published online in EMBO Molecular Medicine.
Right-hand side: Kidney with Wilms' Tumour
Uta Mackensen, EMBO
“In earlier studies, cancer stem cells were isolated from adult cancers of the breast, pancreas and brain but so far much less is known about stem cells in paediatric cancers,” remarked Professor Benjamin Dekel, head of the Pediatric Stem Cell Research Institute and a senior physician at the Sheba Medical Center and the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, Israel. “Cancer stem cells contain the complete genetic machinery necessary to start, sustain and propagate tumour growth and they are often referred to as cancer-initiating cells. As such, they not only represent a useful system to study cancer development but they also serve as a way to study new drug targets and potential treatments designed to stop the growth and spread of different types of cancer.” He added: “We have demonstrated for the first time the presence of cancer stem cells in a type of tumour that is often found in the kidneys of young children.”
Wilms’ tumours are the most prevalent type of tumour found in the kidneys of children. While many patients respond well if the tumours are removed early by surgery and if patients are given chemotherapy, recurrences may occur and the cancer can spread to other tissues increasing the risks to the health of the patient. Conventional chemotherapy is toxic to all cells in the body and if given to children may lead to the development of secondary cancers when they become adults. Scientists are looking for ways to ensure that drugs are targeted specifically to tumour cells and some cells in a tumour may be more important to eradicate than others.
The researchers were able to remove parts of the tumours of cancer patients and graft them into mice. This procedure led to the growth of human tumours in mice. Cancer stem cells were identified in these tumours and it was shown that only the cancer stem cells and not the other cancer cells led to the development of new tumours upon grafting into additional mice. This process could be repeated multiple times and the animals could be used to study the development of cancer and test the action of potential new cancer drugs against Wilms’ tumours.
“We identified several biomarkers, including molecules that are on the cell surface, cell signaling molecules and microRNAs, that make it possible to distinguish between cancer stem cells or cancer-initiating cells and the rest of the cells in the tumour that are less likely to lead to cancer. In further experiments, we were able to show that an antibody drug that targets one such biomarker, the neural cell adhesion molecule, was able to either almost completely or in some cases completely eradicate the tumours that we induced in mice,” added Dekel. “This preliminary result suggests that the cancer stem cells that we have identified, isolated and propagated may serve as a useful tool to look for new drug targets as well as new drugs for the treatment of Wilms’ tumours.”
Further work is needed to identify more precisely how the antibody drug used in the study (lorvotuzumabmertansine) affects cancer stem cell populations and to test the long-term suitability of the antibody drug to treat Wilms’ tumours in humans.
Prospective isolation and characterization of renal cancer stem cells from human Wilms’ tumor xenografts provides new therapeutic targets
Naomi Pode-Shakked, Rachel Shukrun, Michal Mark-Danieli, Peter Tsvetkov, Sarit Bahar, Sara Pri-Chen, Ronald S. Goldstein, Eithan Rom-Gross, Yoram Mor, Edward Fridman, Karen Meir, Marcus Magister, Naftali Kaminski, Amos Simon, Victor S. Goldmacher, Orit Harari-Steinberg, Benjamin DekelRead the paper:
EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe.
Yvonne Kaul | EMBO
Stress triggers key molecule to halt transcription of cell's genetic code
28.05.2015 | Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Chemists discover key reaction mechanism behind the highly touted sodium-oxygen battery
28.05.2015 | University of Waterloo
Using ultrashort laser pulses, scientists in Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have demonstrated the emission of extreme ultraviolet radiation from thin dielectric films and have investigated the underlying mechanisms.
In 1961, only shortly after the invention of the first laser, scientists exposed silicon dioxide crystals (also known as quartz) to an intense ruby laser to...
The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.
Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
28.05.2015 | Press release
28.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy
28.05.2015 | Information Technology