Opens the door for new therapeutic targets
Researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) and the University of Toronto (U of T) have confirmed that childhood and adult brain tumours originate from cancer stem cells and that these stem cells fuel and maintain tumour growth. This discovery has led to development of a mouse model for human brain tumours and opens the door for new therapeutic targets for the treatment of brain tumours. This research is reported in the November 18, 2004 issue of the scientific journal Nature.
"Now that we have confirmed that a small number of cancer stem cells initiates and maintains human brain tumour growth in a mouse model, we can potentially use the mouse model with each patients tumour cells to see if therapies are working to conquer that patients tumour," said Dr. Peter Dirks, the studys principal investigator, a scientist and neurosurgeon at Sick Kids, and an assistant professor of Neurosurgery at U of T. "A functional analysis of the brain tumour stem cell may also give new insight into patient prognosis that may then warrant individual tailoring of therapy." Dr. Dirks laboratory was able to regrow an exact replica of patients brain tumours in a mouse from the isolated cancer stem cells, or brain tumour initiating cells. They were then able to study the growth of the human brain tumour in the mouse model using the advanced imaging technology in the Mouse Imaging Centre (MiCE) at Sick Kids.
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