Exploring the relation between stem cells and tumor growth

July 16, 2012
Exploring the relation between stem cells and tumor growth
Credit: Thinkstock

An EU research project has shed light on the tumor-growth role of a key-signalling pathway in mammary gland stem cells.

Tumor stem cells (TSCs) identified in several tumour tissues are functionally similar to mature stem cells, and are capable of creating new tumours. TSCs are thought to originate from either transformed or .

The hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathway gives stem cells the required information to differentiate. Different kinds of cells have different concentrations of Hedgehog proteins. Malfunction of the pathway can result in diseases like cancer.

The aim of the EU-funded Mammahoglgr project was to further investigate the Hh signalling pathway supporting tumour-growth role in gland stem/progenitor and .

In the framework of this project, unique and innovative tools were established. A mouse model with conditionally regulated Hh-pathway activation was created in the mammary gland. This model was used for monitoring the dynamic changes in the stem/progenitor .

Furthermore, an innovative tumor mouse line was developed, in which the Hh-pathway could be activated and deactivated. This cell line promises to shed light on the early stages of tumour development and identify the cancer-initiating cells.

The results showed a significant increase in tumor formation and growth rate upon Hh-pathway activation. Additionally, stem cell marker Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein coupled receptor 5 (Lgr5) was over-expressed in and induced by Hh pathway activation tumours, suggesting that these tumors are less differentiated. Therefore, the system of induced tumours developed within Mammahoglgr project represents a relevant model to investigate the role of the Hh-pathway in .

The confirmation of the role of an activated Hh-pathway in the development of breast cancer and the tools developed will guide the therapeutic strategies to new, specifically targeted drugs.

Explore further: RANK protein promotes the initiation, progression and metastasis of human breast cancer

Related Stories

RANK protein promotes the initiation, progression and metastasis of human breast cancer

April 24, 2012
Researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) have shown that overactivation of the RANK signalling pathway promotes the initiation, progression and metastasis of tumours in human breast epithelial ...

Regulation of telomerase in stem cells and cancer cells

June 27, 2012
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg have gained important insights for stem cell research which are also applicable to human tumours and could lead to the development of new ...

Key growth factor identified in T cell leukemia

August 1, 2011
Blocking a growth factor receptor cripples cancer growth in a form of T cell leukemia, according to a study published online on August 1 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Recommended for you

'Labyrinth' chip could help monitor aggressive cancer stem cells

September 21, 2017
Inspired by the Labyrinth of Greek mythology, a new chip etched with fluid channels sends blood samples through a hydrodynamic maze to separate out rare circulating cancer cells into a relatively clean stream for analysis. ...

Drug combination may improve impact of immunotherapy in head and neck cancer

September 21, 2017
Checkpoint inhibitor-based immunotherapy has been shown to be very effective in recurrent and metastatic head and neck cancer but only in a minority of patients. University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers ...

Whole food diet may help prevent colon cancer, other chronic conditions

September 21, 2017
A diet that includes plenty of colorful vegetables and fruits may contain compounds that can stop colon cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases in pigs, according to an international team of researchers. Understanding how ...

New kinase detection method helps identify targets for developing cancer drugs

September 21, 2017
Purdue University researchers have developed a high-throughput method for matching kinases to the proteins they phosphorylate, speeding the ability to identify multiple potential cancer drug targets.

Poliovirus therapy induces immune responses against cancer

September 20, 2017
An investigational therapy using modified poliovirus to attack cancer tumors appears to unleash the body's own capacity to fight malignancies by activating an inflammation process that counter's the ability of cancer cells ...

Brain cancer growth halted by absence of protein, study finds

September 20, 2017
The growth of certain aggressive brain tumors can be halted by cutting off their access to a signaling molecule produced by the brain's nerve cells, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.