Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene plays major role in formation of stem cells and cancer

14.04.2004


Researchers from the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam have discovered a common link between cancer cells and stem cells. Together with colleagues from the University of Zurich, Merel Lingbeek and NWO pioneer Prof. Maarten van Lohuizen published their findings on 18 March 2004 in Nature.

Because cancer cells and stem cells can both reproduce themselves in unlimited numbers, it was suspected that they have something in common. That suspicion proved to be correct. Together with their Swiss colleagues, researchers from the Netherlands Cancer Institute discovered an important common link: the BMI1 gene.

Stem cells, the ’original cells’, develop into specialised body cells by first of all making many copies of themselves. Once this copying process has been completed, they stop dividing and start differentiating into specialised cells, for example, a brain cell. But sometimes this process goes wrong. Instead of differentiating, the stem cells retain the expression pattern of a stem cell and keep on copying themselves. This is how medulloblastomas, the most frequently occurring form of brain cancer in children, can develop.



Determining stem cell identity

The publication in Nature reveals that the BMI gene plays a crucial role in this switching process. Together with Swiss colleagues Carly Leung and Silvia Marino, Merel Lingbeek and Prof. Maarten van Lohuizen investigated the formation of brain cells from stem cells in the cerebellum.

The research revealed that the BMI1 gene is essential for the multiplication of the stem cells in the cerebellum. Further it was found that overexpression of the BMI1 gene can result in an enormous growth of these stem cells. For example, overexpression of the BMI1 gene was found in 8 of the 12 medulloblastomas investigated. The BMI1 gene was found to determine the identity of the stem cell: the gene ensures that a stem cell remains a stem cell and does not differentiate. The researchers therefore suspect that an overexpression of the BMI1 gene contributes to the development of these brain tumours.

Subsequent research

The researchers expect that the BMI1 gene plays a role in other types of cancer with stem-cell-like characteristics, including breast tumours and leukaemia. These assumptions will be investigated in subsequent research, which will also examine whether key regulators such as the BMI1 gene can be influenced by drugs.

The research was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Sonja Jacobs | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/nwop_5x7d2c_eng

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>