self-renewal and solid tumor stem cells
Posted 30 January 2011 - 06:03 AM
Self-renewal and solid tumor stem cells.
Al-Hajj M, Clarke MF.
University of Michigan Medical School, CCGC Room 4410, 1500 E Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor 48109-0936, USA.
Solid tumors arise in organs that contain stem cell populations. The tumors in these tissues consist of heterogeneous populations of cancer cells that differ markedly in their ability to proliferate and form new tumors. In both breast cancers and central nervous system tumors, cancer cells differ in their ability to form tumors. While the majority of the cancer cells have a limited ability to divide, a population of cancer stem cells that has the exclusive ability to extensively proliferate and form new tumors can be identified based on marker expression. Growing evidence suggests that pathways that regulate the self-renewal of normal stem cells are deregulated in cancer stem cells resulting in the continuous expansion of self-renewing cancer cells and tumor formation. This suggests that agents that target the defective self-renewal pathways in cancer cells might lead to improved outcomes in the treatment of these diseases.
A role for chemistry in stem cell biology
Sheng Ding1,2 & Peter G Schultz1,2
Although stem cells hold considerable promise for the treatment of numerous diseases including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, musculoskeletal disease, diabetes and cancer, obstacles such as the control of stem cell fate, allogenic rejection and limited cell availability must be overcome before their therapeutic potential can be realized. This requires an improved understanding of the signaling pathways that affect stem cell fate. Cell-based phenotypic and pathway-specific screens of natural products and synthetic compounds have recently provided a number of small molecules that can be used to selectively control stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Examples include the selective induction of neurogenesis and cardiomyogenesis in murine embryonic stem cells, osteogenesis in mesenchymal stem cells and dedifferentiation in skeletal muscle cells. Such molecules will likely provide new insights into stem cell biology, and may ultimately contribute to effective medicines for tissue repair and regeneration.
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