Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

For the first time, researchers identify and isolate adult mammary stem cells in mice

31.08.2010
Research implications include breast tissue regeneration and new cancer drug targets

For the first time, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have identified and isolated adult mammary stem cells in mice.

Long-term implications of this research may include the use of such cells to regenerate breast tissue, provide a better understanding of the role of adult stem cells in breast cancer development, and develop potential new targets for anti-cancer drugs.

The findings, by Larry Rohrschneider, Ph.D., a member of the Basic Sciences Division at the Hutchinson Center, and Lixia Bai, M.D., Ph.D., a research associate in his lab, are published in the Sept. 1 issue of Genes & Development.

Using a genetically modified mouse model, the researchers tagged stem cells with green fluorescent protein (GFP), which exhibits bright green fluorescence during gene expression and can be easily seen under a microscope. GFP expression is controlled by the promoter of a newly identified gene, specifically expressed in stem cells, called s-SHIP.

“Until now, we have not been able to identify stem cells in mammary tissue. They have never been detected before with such specificity. It is extraordinary. You can see these green stem cells under the microscope in their pure, natural state,” said Rohrschneider, who has filed a patent on the s-SHIP promoter-GFP-labeling technology.

Previous systems for isolating stem cells have relied on a variety of biomarkers, none of which have yielded a pure stem cell population. This limitation has prohibited accurate gene-expression analysis of such cells.

The researchers demonstrated the presence of active green stem cells at crucial stages of mammary development, such as puberty and pregnancy. During quiescent stages of development, however, the cells did not "light up."

Such stem cells represent a new alternative to induced pluripotent stem cells, or genetically altered stem cells, for various medical applications.

For example, by isolating the pure green mammary cells from donor female transgenic mice, the researchers have demonstrated the regenerative ability of these cells by transplanting them into the mammary fat tissue of recipient mice whose own mammary epithelium has been removed.

"We have found that those transplanted green stem cells can generate new mammary tissue and this tissue can produce milk, just like normal mammary epithelial cells," said co-author Bai. "Identification of the exact stem cell and its location is the first critical and fundamental step toward understanding the regulatory mechanisms of these important cells."

In addition to potential clinical applications regarding tissue regeneration, the researchers see these isolated stem cells as a window to better understanding how normal stem cells can become cancer stem cells, which are hypothesized to exist in tumors.

"Our belief right now is that perhaps the most aggressive tumors may be coming from the malignant transformation of stem cells in healthy tissue," Rohrschneider said. "This new technology offers a unified model for identifying normal and cancer stem cells."

Cancer stem cells are thought to be responsible for tumor initiation, growth, metastasis, therapy resistance and disease relapse.

"Because stem cells are critical for both normal tissue development and cancer development, exploring how they are regulated in normal development will help us to better understand how they are transformed into breast cancer cells," Bai said. "By searching for new methods to effectively and specifically target cancer stem cells, we hope we can cure breast cancer someday." she said.

The National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the Hutchinson Center and financial support from anonymous donors supported this work.

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. www.fhcrc.org

Photo available upon request: A color photo of GFP-positive (green) mammary stem cells in puberty mammary tissue is available upon request.

Kristen Woodward | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fhcrc.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>