Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Molecular marker identifies normal stem cells as intestinal tumor source

19.12.2008
St. Jude scientists show for the first time that normal stem cells can act as the source of tumors in mature solid tissues

Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have answered a central question in cancer biology: whether normal stem cells can give rise to tumors. Stem cells are immature cells that can renew themselves and give rise to mature differentiated cells that compose the range of body tissues. In recent years, researchers have developed evidence that cancers may arise from mutant forms of stem cells.

Like a brand-name product instantly identifiable by its trademarked logo, normal and cancerous stem cells display on their surface characteristic proteins, including Prominin1 or CD133. A key question in cancer biology has been whether these so-called cancer stem cells arise from normal stem cells or more mature cancer cells that somehow reacquire the characteristics of stem cells.

In the advanced, online issue of the journal Nature, St. Jude investigators show that Prominin1 marks normal intestinal stem cells and that these cells, when mutated, give rise to intestinal tumors. The finding could also aid in identifying the source of cancer stem cells in the lung, kidney, brain, pancreas and other tissues.

"The idea that cancers might arise from mutant stem cells is an attractive one; but until now the link between normal and cancer stem cells in solid tissues like the intestine was not known," said Richard Gilbertson, M.D., Ph.D., associate member of the St. Jude Developmental Neurobiology and Oncology departments and the paper's senior author. "Our work provides the first direct link between normal solid tissue stem cells and cancer. The fact that this occurs in the intestine is particularly interesting since human intestinal tumors contain Prominin1-expressing cancer stem cells."

In addition to providing insights into the origins of cancer, the work might help scientists identify more effective treatments. "Normal stem cells are designed to withstand environmental insults," Gilbertson said. "Thus cancer stem cells might use these same mechanisms to resist chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Remnant cancer stem cells might therefore cause tumors to relapse and re-grow following treatment. If we could kill these cancer stem cells, we might be able to prevent relapse. Understanding the link between normal and cancerous stem cells should help us target the latter while preserving the former."

Working with mice, the researchers inserted a genetic switch that enabled them to selectively turn on a colored tracer molecule only in cells that were expressing, or had expressed, Prominin1. These tracer experiments revealed that Prominin1 cells generate the covering of the entire small intestine and are therefore the stem cell of this tissue.

Next, the researchers switched on cancer-producing machinery in the Prominin1 intestinal stem cells and used a fluorescent tracer to follow the offspring of these cells. Those studies revealed that the stem cells stopped making normal intestine and made tumors instead. "We saw a dramatic change in these laboratory models," Gilbertson said. "The tumorous tissue ultimately replaced the entire normal intestine. In terms of clinical importance, now that we have isolated both the normal, parental stem cells and the cancer stem cells, we can begin screening compounds that will affect the malignant stem cell but not the normal stem cell."

More broadly, Prominin1 might prove to be a useful marker to trace cancer stem cells in the kidney, brain, pancreas and other tissues. The researchers are also exploring the use of stem cell markers in diseases other than cancer. "As we develop these kinds of characteristic markers for stem cells, we might be able to use them to isolate stem cells capable of regenerating healthy tissue in patients who suffer diabetes or other diseases due to organ failure," Gilbertson said.

Carrie Strehlau | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.stjude.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Not of Divided Mind
19.01.2017 | Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH)

nachricht CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
19.01.2017 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

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

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>