Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Hopkins scientists find cells responsible for bladder cancer's spread

Powerful cells located in same tissue location as bladder stem cells

Johns Hopkins scientists have tracked down a powerful set of cells in bladder tumors that seem to be primarily responsible for the cancer's growth and spread using a technique that takes advantage of similarities between tumor and organ growth.

The findings, reported in the July Stem Cells, could help scientists develop new ways of finding and attacking similar cells in other types of cancer.

Researchers have long suspected that a subset of cells in cancerous tumors act much like developmentally primitive cells known as stem cells, which spur organ development early in life and remain present in nearly all the body's organs to repair or replace injured and aging tissues. These cancer cells and stem cells share a variety of characteristics including an unlimited lifespan and a propensity to migrate through tissues.

These same properties are the ones that make cancer particularly dangerous, says David Berman, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology, oncology, and urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. If researchers had a way to identify and specifically target cancer cells with these properties, they could wipe out the population that sustains tumors and makes them grow.

Other researchers have identified proteins on the surfaces of these cancer cells that could work as markers, but because other cells sometimes shared these proteins, this approach can lead to errors, Berman says.

In the new study, led by Berman's postdoctoral research fellow Xiaobing He, Ph.D., the researchers reasoned that if these stem-like cancer cells behave like healthy stem cells, they might be physically located in the same compartments in tissue where stem cells normally reside. Using a surface protein marker previously identified for healthy bladder stem cells, the Hopkins team searched for cells with the same marker in sections from 55 human bladder tumors. They found that cancer cells displaying the marker were localized in an area at the intersection of two layers of cells known as epithelium and stroma, the place where bladder stem cells are typically located.

Using cancer cell lines grown from other bladder cancer patients, the researchers separated cells displaying the stem cell marker from those without it and injected these two populations into different sets of mice. Mice injected with the cancer cells displaying the marker always grew tumors, but those injected with the other cancer cells rarely did, suggesting that the stem-like cancer cells have an ability to create new tissue much like healthy stem cells do.

When the researchers surveyed both cancer cell populations to see which of their genes were most active, they found that genes with roles that are well-known hallmarks of cancer, such as cell proliferation and metastasis, were significantly more active in the stem-like cells than in the other cancer cells. Genes known to help cancers survive chemotherapy and radiation were also more active in the stem-like cells.

Other researchers who participated in this study include Luigi Marchionni, Wayne Yu, Akshay Sood, Jie Yang, Giovanni Parmigiani, and William Matsui, all of Johns Hopkins; and Donna E. Hansel of the Cleveland Clinic.

For more information, go to:

Christen Brownlee | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>