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 Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>