Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New induced stem cells may unmask cancer at earliest stage

04.02.2011
By coaxing healthy and diseased human bone marrow to become embryonic-like stem cells, a team of Wisconsin scientists has laid the groundwork for observing the onset of the blood cancer leukemia in the laboratory dish.

"This is the first successful reprogramming of blood cells obtained from a patient with leukemia," says University of Wisconsin-Madison stem cell researcher Igor Slukvin, who directed a study aimed at generating all-purpose stem cells from bone marrow and umbilical cord blood. "We were able to turn the diseased cells back into pluripotent stem cells. This is important because it provides a new model for the study of cancer cells."

The research was reported today (Feb. 4) in the journal Blood by Slukvin and colleagues from the WiCell Research Institute and the Morgridge Institute for Research, private research centers in Madison.

Slukvin's group, using banked healthy and diseased bone marrow and cord blood, employed a technique developed in 2009 by Wisconsin stem cell pioneer James Thomson that sidesteps the problems posed by the genes and viral vectors used to induce mature cells to regress to a stem cell state.

According to the new study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and The Charlotte Geyer Foundation, reprogramming blood cells to become induced stem cells is many times more efficient than the reprogramming of skin cells, which were the first mature cells to be guided back to an embryonic stem cell-like state.

The new work could open to science vast repositories of banked tissue, both healthy and diseased, such as bone marrow, the soft tissue in bones that helps make blood, and umbilical cord blood. The work could underpin insightful models capable of unmasking the cellular events that go awry and cause cancers such as leukemia, and could aid the development of new stem cell-based therapies, according to Slukvin.

Of particular note in the new study, says Slukvin, is the reprogramming of marrow cells from a patient with chronic myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood that kills about 1,500 people a year in the United States. The disease, like all leukemias, starts in the cells that produce white blood cells in bone marrow.

According to Slukvin, the induced stem cells generated from the diseased tissue retain the exact same complex of genetic abnormalities found in the mature cancer cells. That means that when the induced cells are turned back into blood, scientists could, in theory, watch cancer develop from scratch as cells bearing cancer mutations become cancer stem cells.

"When we differentiate induced stem cells back to blood, we can identify the stages when the abnormality that leads to cancer manifests itself," Slukvin explains.

The ability to pinpoint the very earliest stages of cancer is a major focus of biomedical science.

"This is very important for developing new leukemia drugs," says Slukvin. "A major focus of leukemia research is to find ways to try and eliminate the most immature leukemia cells - cancer stem cells."

The work by Slukvin and his team may represent the first step in a new understanding of the cascade of events that results in blood diseases such as leukemia.

Employing the reprogramming technique developed by Thomson and his colleagues, Slukvin emphasizes, is important because it eliminates the exotic reprogramming genes, some of which are cancer-related genes, from the induced stem cell equation. In the case of chronic myeloid leukemia and other blood diseases, obtaining stem cells that do not have the genetic reprogramming factors is very important.

"When you use viruses (to ferry genes into a cell) you have chromosomal integration," the Wisconsin researcher notes. "Some of the reprogramming factors are oncogenes and would interfere with a study of chronic myeloid leukemia" whose abnormalities are also encoded on the chromosome.

In addition to Slukvin, an investigator at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center (WNPRC) and an associate professor of pathology at the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, authors of the new study include Kejin Hu, Junying Yu and Kyung-Dal Choi of the WNPRC; Kran Suknuntha of the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health; Shulan Tian, Ron Stewart and James A. Thomson of the Morgridge Institute for Research; and Karen Montgomery of the WiCell Research Institute.

Terry Devitt, 608-262-8282, trdevitt@wisc.edu

Igor Slukvin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wisc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Stiffness matters
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Separate brain systems cooperate during learning, study finds
22.02.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>