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 Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>