Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stem cell marker identified in head and neck cancer

18.01.2007
U-M, Stanford researchers report first evidence of cancer stem cells in head and neck tumors

Researchers have found a marker on head and neck tumor cells that indicates which cells are capable of fueling the cancer’s growth. The finding is the first evidence of cancer stem cells in head and neck tumors.

Cancer stem cells are the small number of cancer cells that replicate to drive tumor growth. Researchers believe current cancer treatments sometimes fail because they are not attacking the cancer stem cells. By identifying the stem cells, researchers can then develop drugs to target and kill these cells.

“Our treatment results for head and neck cancer are not as good as we’d like them to be. A lot of people still die of head and neck cancer. This finding will impact our understanding of head and neck cancer, and we hope it will lead to treatments that will be more effective,” says study author Mark Prince, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of Michigan Medical School and section chief of otolaryngology at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

... more about:
»CD44 »U-M »breast »neck cancer »stem cells

Results of the study appear in the Jan. 16 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and Stanford University School of Medicine took tumor samples from patients undergoing surgery for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, including cancers of the tongue, larynx, throat and sinus. Cells from the samples were separated based on whether they expressed a marker on their surface called CD44. The sorted cells were then implanted into immune-deficient mice to grow tumors.

The cells that expressed CD44 were able to grow new tumors, while the cells that did not express CD44 did not grow new tumors. The tumors that grew were found to be identical to the original tumors and to contain cells that expressed CD44 as well as cells that did not express the marker. This ability to both self-renew and produce different types of cells is a hallmark of stem cells.

Stem cells have been identified in several other cancer types, including breast, brain, central nervous system and colon cancers, as well as leukemia. U-M researchers in 2003 were the first to report the existence of stem cells in a solid tumor, finding them in breast cancer. CD44 was also found to play a role in breast cancer stem cells.

“We know CD44 is important in breast cancer and now in head and neck cancer, so it might be important in other cancer types. This work gives more evidence that the cancer stem cell theory is valid,” Prince says.

That theory suggests that a small subpopulation of cancer cells are the critical cells in cancer growth and progression, and the key to treating it is to kill the stem cells. It’s a radically different model than current treatment approaches, which are designed to shrink the tumor by killing as many cells as possible. Researchers suspect cancer recurs because the treatments are not killing the stem cells.

The current finding in head and neck tumors does not pinpoint the exact stem cells, the researchers believe, but rather narrows down the field. The percent of cells within a tumor expressing CD44 varied from one sample to the next, with one sample composed of as high as 40 percent of these cells. Studies in other cancer types have found the stem cell population to be smaller than 5 percent.

“The CD44-positive cells contain the tumorigenic cells, but we don’t think that’s a pure population of cancer stem cells. We still need to drill down further to find the subpopulation of those cells that is the pure version,” Prince says.

In addition to Prince, U-M study authors were doctoral student Andrew Kaczorowski and Gregory Wolf, M.D., professor and chair of otolaryngology. Stanford authors were Ranjiv Sivanandan, Michael Kaplan, M.D.; Piero Dalerba; Irving Weissman, M.D.; Michael Clarke, M.D.; and Laurie Ailles.

Funding for the study was from the U-M Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant in head and neck cancer and from an anonymous gift fund for cancer stem cell research at Stanford University.

While promising, this research is still in the early stages of animal testing, and more research must be done before it could benefit patients with head and neck cancer. No therapeutic treatments or clinical trials are available at this time. For information on existing options for head and neck cancer, call Cancer AnswerLine at 800-865-1125 or visit www.cancer.med.umich.edu/cancertreat/headandneck/index.shtml.

Reference: Proceedings of the NationalAcademy of Sciences, Vol. 104, No. 3, pp. 973-978

Written by Nicole Fawcett

Nicole Fawcett | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

Further reports about: CD44 U-M breast neck cancer stem cells

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system
19.09.2017 | Salk Institute

nachricht Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>